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The Gate 15 Interview EP 33: Climate Change Threats with Dr. Jeff Masters. Sea Level Rise, Drought, the 2023 Hurricane Season, plus Devo, Watermelon & the beauty of the Havasupai Canyon!
In this episode of The Gate 15 Interview, Andy Jabbour visits with Dr. Jeff Masters. Jeff Masters, Ph.D., worked as a hurricane scientist with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. After a near-fatal flight into category 5 Hurricane Hugo, he left the Hurricane Hunters to pursue a safer passion - earning a 1997 Ph.D. in air pollution meteorology from the University of Michigan. In 1995, he co-founded the Weather Underground, and served as its chief meteorologist and on its Board of Directors until it was sold to the Weather Company in 2012. Between 2005-2019, his Category 6 blog was one of the Internet’s most popular and widely quoted sources of extreme weather and climate change information. He now frequently writes for YALE Climate Connections.
On Twitter: @DrJeffMasters
In the discussion we address:
Jeff’s incredible Hurricane Hugo experience.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report and going beyond the ‘planetary boundaries of safe operation for the planet.’
Jeff’s important ideas to understand about climate change.
Jeff discusses his two biggest climate concerns - the disruptive threats from sea level rise and drought, including:
A potential ‘massive financial threat to the US.’ Jeff says, ‘we’re not correctly pricing risk…there threatens to be a shakeout in the…market’ and he notes insurance company struggles in Florida, Louisiana and California as examples before discussing the potential cascading effects associated with humans fleeing from the coasts.
Threats to critical infrastructure, including real estate, water and wastewater, transportation and supply chains.
And he explains his concerns about drought impacting food prices and leading to famine.
Hurricane season 2023, an anticipated El Nino year, perhaps something that may look like the 2018 hurricane season.
Plus! Devo, getting outdoors, watermelon, and the beauty of the Havasupai Canyon.
A few references mentioned in or relevant to our discussion include:
Jeff’s Hurricane Hugo Experience:
Weather Underground: Hunting Hugo: The Hurricane Hunters' Wildest Ride, a multi-part story of Jeff’s incredible experience in the eye of Hurricane Hugo.
Weather Underground: A flight through Hurricane Hugo, remembered 20 years later, 15 Sep 2009
Originally published in Weatherwise magazine, Hunting Hugo was made available in digital form, complete with the many photos I took on the flight, on the web site I co-founded, Weather Underground. A separate account of the flight was written by a reporter from Barbados who was on the flight, and was published in my Weather Underground blog in 2009. There was a 45-minute episode of “Air Crash Investigation” (AKA “Mayday”) on the Hugo flight called “Into the Eye of the Storm” that aired in 2014. Several hundred thousand dollars was spent on the episode, which included CGI effects, a set built in Toronto to simulate the flight, and actors playing the crew and scientists. In 2022, the video was available with a paid subscription to Paramount Plus. The video was also available for free at apparat.com.
Take to the Sky: The Air Disaster Podcast: Episode 85: NOAA 42 Hurricane Hunters, 02 Dec 2021
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report:
The Guardian: Scientists deliver ‘final warning’ on climate crisis: act now or it’s too late, 20 Mar
IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, 20 Mar
IPCC IPCO Sixth Assessment Report Working Group 1: The Physical Science Basis; Summary for Policymakers
BBC: UN climate report: Scientists release 'survival guide' to avert climate disaster, 20 Mar
New York Time: Earth to Hit Critical Warming Threshold by Early 2030s, Climate Panel Says, 20 Mar
Climate.gov: Climate Change: Global Sea Level, 19 Apr 2022
NASA Vital Signs
NASA Sea Level Change; Observations from Space
NASA Sea-Level Toolkit: New Guide Helps Planners Prepare, 07 Feb 2023
CNN: Threat of rising seas to Asian megacities could be way worse than we thought, study warns, 08 Mar 2023
Space.com: Sea level rise slowed down in 2022. NASA says it's just a blip, 22 Mar
NOAA: Destructive 2018 Atlantic hurricane season draws to an end; NOAA services before, during, after storms saved lives and aided recovery, 28 Nov 2018
Some of Jeff’s recent writing:
YALE Climate Connections: With global warming of just 1.2°C, why has the weather gotten so extreme? Climate change increases extreme weather by adding more heat and moisture to the air and through disruption of fundamental atmospheric circulation patterns, 06 Mar 2023
YALE Climate Connections: The other ‘big one’: How a megaflood could swamp California’s Central Valley; A repeat of the state’s Great Flood of 1861-62 could cause over $1 trillion in damage, 25 Jan 2023
YALE Climate Connections: If a megaflood strikes California, these dams might be at risk; The state’s highest-risk dams protect millions of people and tens of billions in property, including Disneyland and the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, 26 Jan 2023