Typhoon Yutu and What it Means for the Future of the World

Katherine Merkel, News and Opinion Editor

In the biggest weather strike on any portion of the United States this year, the US Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands were slammed with Super Typhoon Yutu early on Thursday, October 25th. The Northern Marianas have a population of about 55,000 people that were all affected in some way by the enormous storm. With wind speeds reaching a staggering 180 miles per hour, the islands were quickly ravished with the storm turning over cars, reducing buildings to piles of rubble and knocking down telephone poles. So far, the death count has thankfully remained low at just one casualty, resulting from a building crushing a woman to death. However, the number of people who were injured was also significant. Without a medical center or even an airport, the islands are in dire need of assistance.

The Northern Mariana Islands are the most recent U.S. territory to have been hurt in some way by a disastrous hurricane. The U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico also suffered strikes during the 2017 hurricane season. Gregorio Kilili Camacho Sablan, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands’ delegate to U.S. Congress, is declaring the situation a disaster and calling in relief services to help the people of the islands. He claims the islands look like a war has passed through them. Luckily, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is currently on the ground and helping the islands and their people to recover. They are estimating that it will take weeks for power to be restored to the island and its inhabitants.

When a disaster of this magnitude occurs, one must be conscientious of what caused it, and what will make it happen again. Typhoons are formed when they start off as tropical thunderstorms in which their strong winds pull in moisture from the oceans. These thunderstorms then convert the moisture into heat. The heat causes more air to flow to the center of the storm causing evaporation, and the cycle repeats in a circle to create the swirling winds of a typhoon. Atmospheric scientists are saying that with increased temperatures as a result of global warming, the rapid intensification of these storms will quickly rise.

In order to solve the problems presented by global warming and climate change, the world needs to switch to sources of energy that are more clean and renewable, and be more abstemious with the burning of fossil fuels. There are many different types of clean energy that are affordable and that can be used in place of dangerous greenhouse gas emitting sources. Already essential to the survival of all life on earth, the sun provides mankind with a source of energy that requires absolutely no burning of dangerous materials. Solar panels can be installed on the roof of any house, and they are becoming cheaper and more practical everyday. These sun sensitive panels can convert energy from the sun directly into electricity by using photovoltaics. Solar power is a near perfect, clean, renewable energy source, far superior to the burning of fossil fuels. Of course, Solar power is not the only known renewable energy source, many other sources exist which include: wind power, hydro power, nuclear power, and geothermal power. Any one of these options could be viable in order to prevent climate change and save the world from another future Typhoon Yutu.