Dorian, still descending, part 3

Although no one *wants* the strongest hurricane ever to make landfall, the "hurry up and get it over with already" feeling has emerged. If it feels like this is the slowest moving storm on record, it's because it nearly is - it's the second slowest. It's been just about to wreak havoc forever.


The good news is that it's unlikely to hammer the Florida coast head on anymore. We'll get the rain and the wind and some storm surge but most of it will remain offshore as it travels north. If the video coming out of the Bahamas is any indication, we have truly dodged a bullet.


This time.


But what about next time?


Of course there will be a next time. Hurricane season happens at the same time every year, and has for centuries. There's no avoiding them if you live here.


But what has changed is the intensity of the storms. Do you ever find yourself thinking: "Have there always been this many really bad storms?" You're not crazy - you're correct.


Although the number of storms has not changed, the intensity certainly has. Dorian is the 5th Cat 5 hurricane on the past four years and the second strongest hurricane in 70 years.


If you do a little digging about hurricanes, you'll learn that although there aren't more hurricanes every season, they are definitely stronger storms now than there were even a decade ago. Coincidence? No.


The Union of Concerned Scientists (a national non-profit dedicated to evidence-based science and decision making) predicts that: "In general, hurricanes will become more intense in a warming world, with higher wind speeds and greater levels of precipitation."


In addition, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, "Scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal."


It doesn't even matter if you believe that warming of our planet is caused by Mother Nature or by humanity. The planet is without a doubt getting warmer.

Change in the temperature of the planet, 1880-now

I happen to believe - along with the vast, vast majority of scientists - that it is humans causing this. Since the Industrial Revolution, and we have caused unprecedented amounts of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, to be released into the atmosphere, creating a blanket that traps heat.

Shows the surge in carbon dioxide in our atmosphere since 1950

Even more alarming, humanity is on track to continue spewing this into our atmosphere for the foreseeable future.


Which means higher temperatures. Which means stronger hurricanes.


Once you look at all the pieces, it seems obvious. Hurricanes are stronger when the air and water temps are higher. We humans keep driving our cars and burning our coal and making it warmer. Temperatures will only continue to rise.


"The projected increase in intense hurricanes is substantial—a doubling or more in the frequency of category 4 and 5 storms by the end of the century." That's also from the Union of Concerned Scientists.


What's perhaps most sad about Dorian is that the Bahamas is a tiny island with a tiny population. Those people bear only the tiniest fraction of "responsibility" for contributing to the increase in temperatures, but this week they have borne the brunt of its impacts. Thirty inches of rain, 20+ foot seas, huge swaths of the islands underwater.


Maybe the link between fresh pasta and sustainability isn't obvious. But I think there's a link between being a human and taking care of our planet. We're all in this together. Unless we want to leave the next generation with cataclysmic, science-fiction level epic storms, we have to change our behavior today.


P.S. If you really need me to tie fresh pasta to the hurricane directly, I give you this: the low pressure associated with hurricanes enables you to boil water at a lower temperature and therefore more quickly. But before you get excited about having your pasta ready sooner, that decrease in time for boiling water is more than offset by the necessity of cooking your food longer because the water isn't as hot. Therefore, during a hurricane, you might have to cook your pasta for a few extra seconds than usual.


Bringing the garden to you . . . pasta-style!

In and around Vero Beach, Florida

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To learn more about Esther's journey to the world of fresh from the garden pasta, read here.

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