FROM SANDY TO MARIA

June 27, 2018 at 4:45 am

Are monster storms becoming more frequent and more severe? PBS’ “NOVA” gives us the science behind the “Rise of Superstorms.”

Aired on June 26, 2018. 

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>> WHEN SUPERSTORM SANDY MADE
LANDFALL NEAR NEW JERSEY NEARLY
SIX YEARS AGO IT SHOCKED A
REGION NOT USED TO DEVASTATING
POWER OF HURRICANES.
THAT STORM KILLED DOZENS AND
BROUGHT NEW YORK CITY TO A STAND
TILL.
FLOODING COASTAL AREAS,
DESTROYING HOMES AND LEAVING
HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS WITHOUT
POWER FOR DAYS.
THE IMPACT OF SANDY ON OUR
REGION CAN STILL BE FELT TODAY.
FOR EXAMPLE, THE UPCOMING
15-MONTH SHUT DOWN OF THE L
TRAIN TO TUNNELS DANIELS.
SUPERSTORMTS MAY BE RARE BUT
SCIENTISTING WARNED THAT MAY NOT
BE THE CASE FOR LONG.
EVEN BIG ARE AND MORE FREQUENT
STORMS COULD BE THE NEW NORMAL.
IN JUST A ONE-MONTH PERIOD LAST
YEAR THREE MONSTER HURRICANES
HARVEY, IRMA AND MARIA TORE
THROUGH THE CARIBBEAN AND UNITED
STATES KILLING HUNDREDS AND
CAUSING MORE THAN $100 BILLION
IN DAMAGE.
RISE OF THE SUPERSTORMS, A NEW
DUPLICATORY FROM OUR FRIENDS AT
NOVA LOOKS AT THE SCIENCE BEHIND
THESE MASSIVE STORMS AND AT THE
CUTTING EDGE RESEARCH BEING DONE
TO BETTER PREDICT AND PREPARE
FOR THE NEXT BIG ONE.
HERE IS A PREVIEW.
>> HARVEY IN.
>> WINDS IN EXCESS OF
190-MILE-PER-HOUR.
>> IRMA.
>> DO NOT WIT FOR THIS SKORM
ZPLO MARIA THREE MONSTER
HURRICANES IN A SINGLE MONTH.
>> THE ISLAND RIGHT HERE WAS ON
TOP OF US.
>> IS IT A FLUKE OR THE NEW
NORMAL.
>> IT'S HAPPENING MORE OFTEN
WITH WARM O WARMER OCEANS AND
CLIMB CHANGE.
>> WE'RE PUTTING A LIFE VEST ON
SFWLU OKAY.
>> ARE WE PREPARED FOR THE RISE
OF THE STORM STORMS ON NOVA?
>> AND JOINING US NOW TO TALK
ABOUT THE DOCUMENTARY AS PART OF
OUR PEARL AND PROMISE INITIATIVE
OF THE HUMAN IMPACT OF CLIMATE
CHANGE, IS THE WRITER, PRODUCER
AND DIRECTOR OF NOVA RISE OF THE
IS SUPERSTORMS LEASELE CLARK.
LEASELE WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.
>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.
>> NOW, LEASELE, IN THE
DOCUMENTARY YOU MAKE THE
COMPELLING CASE THAT LAST YEAR'S
HURRICANES WERE AN UNPRECEDENTED
VET IF YOU ADD THEM ALTOGETHER.
UNPRECEDENTED WERE THE
HURRICANES.
>> WELL IT HAD BEEN 13 YEARS
SINCE A MAJOR HURRICANE CATEGORY
4 HURRICANE HAD ACTUALLY MADE
LANDFALL IN U.S. TERRITORY.
SO FOR -- FOR THREE TO HIT BACK
TO BACK IN ONE YEAR WAS QUITE
DEVASTATING.
HURRICANES ARE KNOWN TO ACTUALLY
HIT IN SUCCESSION.
PEOPLE SAY THEY CAN COME IN
CLUSTERS ALMOST LAKE BANANAS
COME IN CLUSTERS.
THEY ARE KNOWN TO DO THAT IF THE
CONDITIONS ARE RIGHT.
AND LAST YEAR, LAST FALL
CONDITIONS WERE CERTAINLY RIGHT.
>> SOMETHING WE SEE OVER AND
OVER AGAIN AND THAT YOU FOCUSED
ON IS THAT, YOU KNOW, THE PATH
AND THE SEVERITY OF THE STORMS
IS SELDOM KNOWN FULLY UNTIL THE
LAST MOMENT.
IN FACT HARVEY WENT FROM FROM A
CATEGORY 1 TO 4 VERY QUICKLY
APPARENTLY TO EVERYONE'S
SURPRISE.
HOW COME THAT'S THE CASE WHEN WE
MADE SUCH STRIDES WITH
TECHNOLOGY IN THE FIELD?
>> IT'S A REALLY GOOD QUESTION.
I THINK THIS IS WHAT IN ENS SORT
OF CAUGHT THE GENERAL PUBLIC AND
CERTAINLY OFFICIALS BY SURPRISE
LAST YEAR.
ALL THREE HURRICANES RAPIDLY
INTENSIFIED.
SO RAPID INTENSEFY INDICATION IS
WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT THP
PETITION -- IN A SPAN OF ABOUT
24 HOURS FOR EXAMPLE MARIA I
THINK WENT WAS THE ONE TO
INTENSIFY THE MOST RAPIDLY GOING
FROM ESSENTIALLY A TROPICAL
STORM TO A MAJOR HURRICANE IN 24
HOURS.
NOW, WHEN THAT HAPPENS LIKE IN
THE CASE OF HARVEY, WHEN WHEN A
STORM IS CLOSE TO LANDFALL, THAT
DOESN'T GIVE OFFICIALS ENOUGH
TIME TO -- YOU KNOW, TO TELL
PEOPLE TO EITHER EVACUATE OR
SHELTER IN PLACE.
IN EITHER SITUATION PEOPLE HAVE
TO BE PREPARED.
>> SO WHAT'S CAUSING THESE
STORMS IN SOME PEOPLE BELIEVE
THAT GLOBAL WARMING OR CLIMATE
CHANGE IS THE SOLE CAUSE OF
THESE INCREASING STORMS.
WHAT'S YOUR TAKE?
>> YOU KNOW, FROM READING ALL
THE PAPERS AND VIEWING THE
RESEARCH THAT'S NECESSARY TO DO
A FILM LIKE THIS, IT LOOKS LIKE
CLIMATE IS POINTING TOWARDS THE
FACT THAT WE CAN EXPECT NOT
NECESSARILY MORE FREQUENT
HURRICANES BUT WHEN THE
CONDITIONS ARE RIGHT HURRICANES
WILL -- WILL BREW UP AND FORM
INTO MAJOR HURRICANES, WHICH ARE
ONE OF THE MOST DESTRUCTIVIVIVE
FORCES ON EARTH.
I THINK PEOPLE ARE NOW -- WE
HAVE SORT OF USHERED IN A NEW
ERA OF HURRICANE AWARENESS.
AND CERTAINLY FOR PEOPLE LICHAJ
IN CARIBBEAN NATIONS AND PUERTO
RICOENS IN PARTICULAR, BUT ALSO
FOR ANYONE LIMPING ALONG THE
COASTLINES WE KNOW THAT THERE IS
AND THERE HAS BEEN SEA LEVEL
RISE.
WHEN YOU ADD SEA LEVEL RISE INTO
HURRICANES MAKING LANDFALL,
POTENTIALLY AS STRONGER
HURRICANES, THEN YES PEOPLE NEED
TO BE MORE PREPARED FOR STORM
SURGE.
PREPARATION, I THINK HAS
EVERYTHING TO DO WITH BUILDING
CODES AND -- AND YOU KNOW, IF
YOU'RE GOING TO BUILD NEW, THEN
PEOPLE NEED TO START THINKING
ALONG THE COAST ABOUT BUILDING
MORE APPROPRIATELY FOR BEING
ABLE TO SUSTAIN WIND DAMAGE AND
STORM SURGE.
>> SO REALLY QUICKLY IS THIS THE
NEW NORMAL?
>> I THINK THIS HAS A VERY
STRONG CHANCE OF BEING THE NEW
NORMAL.
WHAT'S INTERESTING IS THAT THE
SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURES WERE
LOOKING LIKE THEY WERE GOING TO
BE VERY HIGH THIS SEASON.
BUT AT THE LAST MINUTE THEY HAVE
STARTED TO SORT OF TREND LOWER.
SO, YOU KNOW, WE'RE NOT SURE
WHAT'S HAPPENING THIS YEAR.
OFFICIALS WERE WERE SAYING THEY
WERE EXPECTED A LITTLE ABOVE
AVERAGE HURRICANE ACTIVITY THIS
YEAR.
BUT AT THIS STAGE IT LOOKS LIKE
IT WILL BE NORMAL.
SO IT MAY BE QUITE SIMILAR TO
LAST YEAR OR WE MAY HAVE, YOU
KNOW, NOT MAJOR HURRICANES BUT
CERTAINLY SOME HURRICANES.
>> ALL RIGHT, THANK YOU SO MUCH.
AND THANK YOU FOR THE
DOCUMENTARY.
IT'S VERY INSTRUCTIVE.
>> THANK YOU.
>> NOVA EE RICE OF THE
SUPERSTORM PREMIERES.
PLEASE CHECKLISTING FOR AIR
TIMES.

Mutual of America PSEG

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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