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NP QUARTERLY

December 2008

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COVER STORY

Treasure Earth Cut Carton - An interview Prof. Chung-ming Liu, Director of GCRC

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Hurricane Katrina brought high waves that invaded New Orleans.
Growing strong in diasters
Typhoon Jiangmi that hit Taiwan early this year brought gust winds of Class 17 impressed everyone. International weather experts rated it a Class 5 hurricane, more powerful than Katrina that devastated New Orleans in 2005. U.S. government, already shying from A large-scale evacuation is possible in the U.S., not Taiwan. Before a typhoon, we cannot ask it to leave and there is nowhere for our people to hide. All we can do is pray that the house is strong enough and water and soil conservation is well done. “We can only hope for the best,” said Prof. Liu.
 
In the case of Taiwan, the reduced damage during Jiangmi is built on the cost spent in the two preceding typhoons, where roads and houses were flooded, bridges collapsed, and people died. “Remembering the lesson learned is the most important upon a changing climate. Reinforcing the ability to respond to disasters and acting like flexible grasses that straighten up quickly after a wind blow. Knowing how to react is more practical than building more barriers and breakwaters at endangered areas or refilling roads to make them stronger,” commented Prof. Liu directly on the current situations.
As climate change exacerbates, governments and people want immediate solutions to return to the good old days. However, the reality bites. People finally realized the importance of energy saving and carbon reducing. But unfortunately, the changes and efficacy can not catch up with the speed and scale of deterioration.
 
Prof. Liu explained the “bullet theory” and said that extreme disasters will only grow in the future. For example, some thought it was the Yuanshanzih flood dividing channel that solved the flooding in Sijhih. No, the flood disappeared before completion of the channel. Where did it go? No one knows but every possible flood will be like bullets zeroed in at unknown targets.
 
Large snow in middle-elevation mountains, cold hazard in Penghu, heat waves in summer that killed farmers, unprecedented attacks by typhoons beyond late October, increased number of typhoons per year, weather bureau has been bombarded again and again. However, how is accurate forecast possible for unprecedented situations?
New Orleans in a year after Katrina, Many houses are need to rebuild. Tyohoon Sinlaku that hit Taiwan early in 2008 brought torrential rain impressed everyone
  • upper: Hurricane Katrina brought high waves that invaded New Orleans./ by Fouquin Chirstophe
  • lower left: New Orleans in a year after Katrina, Many houses are need to rebuild./ by Lintour
  • lower right: Tyohoon Sinlaku that hit Taiwan early in 2008 brought torrential rain impressed everyone/ by Emma
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