It's a perfect storm of science and comedy when Neil deGrasse Tyson and StarTalk Live surge into the Bell House the night before Winter Storm Nemo to discuss hurricanes and superstorms.
See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Skip the commercials support star talk on patriarch to listen to every episode, Commercial free with this is filled with secrets in industries, leaving us with many questions to be answered. We find ourselves searching for those answers as the very fabric of space. Science and society are converging here for the first time, what what the Japanese it's easier I mean the brakes daddy, you Glinda did you grandma Ass, the brain they get lab like what
every new another amazing instalment of scarred by law. It is my great humble oh sure, to bring out. Is the voice of science on the ground so: Eugene tonight we'll get devote the whole leading to talking about storm systems and climate.
So let's bring out our guest. Yet your guesswork jackass, ladies and gentlemen, the amazing Michael Show or two more seats. I have some expertise in whether and storms, but nowhere near what is necessary to pull this evening off. So I found a doctor, Adam Sobol, who is a crime Scientists from Columbia, University Adam and we like someone who we all know- and he just came twenty minutes ago from thirty rock, join me in a class with who, I think, has the largest Afro left in the universe,
there's other better, like there's a rabbi, I know we ve titled issue storms of our century, and you know we ve had a few storms lately to Adam seems to me looking kind of aid these intend storms, I dont know that we have more storing the ones we ve had seemed to be so to record breaking intensity in scale and size and damage, and so first I'm just ass. You with a heavily storms come from. Are you making them in your lab? Hurts you are mad. Scientist in your car be a lab. Al Qaeda
room me wrong science, man, no, we don't make em. I let the record show scientific name for hurricane is a tropical cyclops, so they come from the tropics. Ok it even if it goes across patent is called a tropical cycling. Well, are you blaming? Immigrants were storms in you could view this storm itself as an immigrant through our shores yet the venezuelan weapon. That's how I see it a tropical cycle on forms in the tropics, but it has some other characteristics and if it keeps those characteristics as comes further forward. Then we can only endorse those icon. That would be nor translating Minerva sphere. Yet in this house are so he gave general answers in the southern hemisphere. I could go to this out all right,
Oh, very nice. Ok he's not limited to a hemisphere of activity here. I studies at all. You learn that when you talk to the Israelis about this area, so how do you make these northward A tropical cycle has a few characteristics, one of which is that it comes from the tropics, another of which is that it ten be when they get strong there very circular early symmetric. So when you look down from space, as you see the satellite images you see, the swirling can really hunting or more I yet more more beautiful rise. I write the other thing about it is that it. Warm in the middle compared to the air out side, whereas an extra tropical cycle, which is the kind I we're gonna have to Morrow- is called in exile. So right after people go home tonight, there's gonna be restored. This is bad coincidence. We're gonna get blamed for this. You know
the blame you so tomorrow be called in the middle. So if you can have a storm, it's called in the middle and stormy it's hot in the middle right. Then you're not telling me that you understand what makes storms be it now. There is no other thing. How could that be sailing? and say two things are opposite. I need some experts blame yes right, so they get their energy from different places so that tropical cycling gets its energy from the warm ocean. The Caribbean could be the Caribbean, ok could be other war motions and while the Pacific, wherever it warm underneath wherever it's warm enough- and it's really warm compared to the atmosphere. So it's giving off. He because the atmosphere is in some way colder than the oceans of the Auschwitz venting hurricane is organized and powerful way that the atmosphere succeed out of the ocean when thought about their way in the atmosphere sucks nor in the winter storm. The extra tropical storm is dead.
So it doesn't care that much about the ocean underneath it, but it gets its energy from the fact that the low latitude our warm and the high latitudes, are cold and that's cause a how the sun shines a different angles and the different parts of the planet- and so when you are part of the planet being warm and part of the planet being called the climate doesn't like that. I mean, if you were, to heat up half of the room and call the other half you'd have a contract that one even itself out and you'd make a wind to baby turbulence made material but because the earth is spinning, they can't flattened out the warm air can get to the pole easily in the cold air can't get to the equator easily because as they try to go, the Coriolanus force Coriolanus YAP guerrillas for one of my favorite for forces in their heads. But it's not a real force, actually benefits One of the core is: I got that Corey Haim Corey Feldman,
and Coriolanus he was the last boys worry always I heard is selling his teeth on Ebay, So I got blob of warm air nor through the equator. I gotta blob cold air up north and trying to equal, but they can't do it. So instead, what happens? The coils where's turn them and you get the jet stream. The jet stream is what you have instead to the jet stream is like the ban Three between the warm and the cold and its can stay there, because the rotation of the earth keeps it there. In balance between the warm, the call that blows around the planet, but its unstable the woman called still kind of want to mix, because that would be a fun if the climate, if that is babies nappies. Yet
warm in coal. You cannot keep the warming pulled. Apart. Is your point you well, you can keep em part for a while, but the jet stream starts to wiggle in develops undulations in it, and those are extra tropical cyclops, poser winter storms. Ok! easy easy these literally describing assets? It makes me I'd navigable. Now I get why there's climate change an Irish no way the wind storm dances upon you are not a lot about our later was drive it away. I can't believe you haven't thought about it that way, Why.
This is starter. And you got there you're trying to go north whole. They are trying to comes out a jets stream that keeps them, at Bay, temporarily, the jet street gives in begins to Julie and that one's relation is itself. The birth of a storm the jet stream, is the chaperone of weather Junior high, they of supplied sire.
So now got the hot air trying to go north in it. Over takes the part where tended towards right right you, with her mission gas, overtaking, gives you, France, as the jet stream develops. We will. Then it will call them warm. They wrap up and you get friends, that's where you cold air and where my right next to each other, ok, but now you get This sort of circulation yeah. But things remember, is that because an Ex tropical cycling develops from a temperature contrast, that's an a symmetry, and so the extra tropical storm, the winner storm, inherits that a symmetry. So so they're not beautiful, spirals. Now that's the clouds and have a common shape. I've seen that year. This, like the northeastern, have that a huge. Right yeah. Call it a comma cloud. That's a technical term comical out. Ok, then, in San Diego over your ring become a carpet. Clout
Everyone dresses up like a robot. I go here the Sapphire Simpson scale, yes, which has been invoked at any time. We hear about and taught him a hurricane through using. Scale and it's the hurricane intensity scale from one to five right? I once looked up the description of the damage at each one of these intensity scales and it was like the descent into Hell in a Dante. Caroline, like so category one they said heavyweights, why so? The wind is: where did you get this memorize the winds category, one sixty five knots, which is about seventy five miles an hour. We we're not not people here. We are sorry you wanted me to per second we have made this latter meters per second better slop in these boundaries, but it's like seventy five like a hundred hundred miles an hour. Basically so they set at these feeds. You lose some rules. Some branches for
all local flooding category two, ninety six, two hundred and ten miles an hour percent of roofs will blow off, someone knows, will blow out trees begin to top people start defending each other, category three eleven miles an hour, a hundred twenty nine miles an hour like all. That are not pertain proof, but fifty percent of trees have broken branches, twenty don't fall over entirely severe flooding, and most people start following just in category four. We're we're up your hundred thirty two hundred fifty six miles an hour it talks about. Leaves on trees being ripped clean from the tree itself. Then its of category five, no
trees are left standing. Nearly all roofs are blown off, most structured, a level everything is flooded. This is urge trying to kill us to people's health a haven for life. Is beautiful. Birth wants us to stop her. So casually, so you guys came up with the scale and it's pretty devastating, obviously that carry fives a rare but in another segment of trouble go over the list of the baron hurricanes that have come through town, I'm just curious. This is an energy scale. Basically right, yeah destroy if energy its of the maximum sustained wind, how you get a category five working, what other ingredients you have to A very warm ocean, usually not just at the surface of the ocean, but a deeper layer, because as the hurricane spins it'll mix up water from below and no one will be colder and social if the water below is called article
You want a deep layer of a warm water unceasing, a hurricane can shut itself off if it sits, and waste for long enough. So if it moves fast, it doesn't happen because it's taken heat for every next place. It just ride exactly. I didn't yeah, but sits in one place for long enough in the water below the surface is cold than the turbulent springs of cold water and could shut is relax, I'm at its Duke Hurricanes, commonly just stay in one place and now move, but if they move slow, you know I can write. I can happen to some extent. Ok, such warm, deep one, sorry ass, the he didn't more heat, able to it yeah, so it doesn't shut itself, our warm water. You want to start with a human atmosphere, very high humidity in the atmosphere and Another thing they don't like is: what's gonna win sheer, which is when the one who's they the hurricanes they dont like it means that makes them less bad. Right could ask a real hurricane ads or anything it. We have a question. I have a stupid question. Could you stop a hurricane
Could you go? There's a really big hurricane happening. Yeah, let's go get the hurricane stopper yeah, it's physically possible! It's been thought about quite a lot and it's just difficult expensive saying so. No one has approach Samuel, Jackson spends, if, as the damage that hard it s not so there's there there's been a few idea, this, is more if it costs billion dollars- and you could use it- I don't know twice Would that so there's a lot of ideas and the ones that those of us in environmental science don't like the ones involving nuclear bombs, but the ones forget it the ones that make a little more sense. Well, I like how does a nuclear bomb?
are you going to let this journalist? Obviously you get just drop a nuclear bomb, but you know that sells bad because so windy there so he's hurricanes, like heat, ok It is a bomb big, was it makes heat Tokayer Thermo nuclear explosions? How do you stop arguing with a nuclear bomb? I'd. Rather, I'd rather not and the nuclear bomb idea. If I could, but we are curious, there have been ideas put out there with nuclear bombs. I don't think there it is. So much you know you ve changed circulation, the atmosphere and I guess you could write It follows up the barricade and whatever, under the sort of what you say, a bad idea. There is better idea: that's good I'd, go ok because
hurricane lives from getting its energy out of the war motion. If you could call the ocean, you could weaken the hurricane, so one idea that is feasible, but just very excise cubes. Ice, cubes well materialised use, but when I do that spending do you dream a glacier down and sticking. They're like an arctic ice. Ornithologists date flowed down, they just slipped out our anywheres billions. Yes, I remember their ears and Bristol We have. Another ideas is pumps to bring up colder water from below. If you had a lot of pumps in the ocean bring up the cold water, you could call the ocean and weaken the hurt What right do you need? A lot of pumps you'd have to get in there had a time you have to do it fast enough, and so I see that word on pumps. Ninety pumps, hurricane is very large. Farmers need to be mobile. They certainly needs to be more because you can't just line the whole ocean with potter at you. You just preemptively, put pumps, everyone now you'd have to deploy em in the right place. Times that's how very expensive you know the other interesting thing about it is less. Don't you mess with fishing,
give us its likes cold water at the bottom cause. That's why hang out there and you circulating back up to the top. You don't do it all the way to the bottom units go down a few meters, yeah, there's no fish in the Middle EAST problem. I sound about. The fish are now you'll have to go to another fishing, earlier. I dont know what I did a fish. I don't like thing that you might not only that would work. That would be one solution. It wouldn't let you could. At least we can retain that way. You could you could do a lot of things. I think one thing that somebody brought up once in a discussion I was about this. Is that there's other ideas that would change the tree the hurricane- yes, then send it to you. I am so it's probably not that far a lot of these words. I ran when we try to intervene in the atmosphere in these in these ways mutually dont. Do it quite right and things don't go exactly as you plan to the atmosphere is growing very unpredictable. So if you were to try to do something to hurricane no matter
what you did and no matter whether you did it or not. If the hurt anyone. They would sue you because You were right, yeah, so in illegal listing society has pointed out, is so my example of irate was actually pretty going to be the one place that we would be illegal together. You saw me that's why This is it. This is an interesting socio cultural point. That's because if you dont redirect the hurricane as Sharon's forms duly indicate its an act of God. You do redirect the hurricane. It's an act of Andy. It didn't matter going hunting season repaired, but even if it out, if you tried to redirect it- and even if you didn't, do anything to it, but you try to do something. You look like you because no one the would have gone right. You haven't done it, so they rather God and a human being. I can't soon got the term you probably file, but you could then reader
you just would never bring it out. I don't know if we could do it, but we know you put it, but if you try to don't tell anyone, you did the right steps and avoid the legal of sending a hurricane another place. Hey. I've got no secret for you. I'm gonna consider singing all of the ads on this shell there's just one And where to get out of hearing there go to patriarch arms last star talk and support. Where does at the five dollar level or higher to listen? The star talk ad free you- can download all current episodes into your favorite podcast player and never
we're here. Another commercial on star talk ever again. You will definitely not have to hear me sing if you support us at Patria. Dark coms. Last our talk, radio, I mean. I'm just thinking I mean just saying Breathing space inside down to earth you're listening to start, stormy weather We create a drink of the night too serve the theme of the evening and collaborated with the bartender. So we created something called the stormy weather It is right, a common drink from the north mixed with ginger beer, a common drink from the tropics
stormy weather up the whole coast, so What happened with Sandy? I live in lower Manhattan. We were out of electricity for five days right: water. After two days you can flush the toilet so like we had to leave and when a treats me about Sandy is that the hurricane didn't take out warm and him. It was the tides. That's all it was not was enough to take us out. Nine. You live at the edge of an island, and wasn't it also the levies in ignoring the levies, and only so here we are ready to blame hurricanes and I'm thinking well, there's an engineering problem here. It has not been met. No I'll say that I live. It we're ok, brand New Yorker that was our way. But the does your hat. I think in September we before Sandy. I noticed that, though,
Water level was unusually higher the norm and you didn't tell anyone ok I'll, be honest the next to me was like they would make it a big deal like something's gonna happen, because the water level was never Do you not just dismiss it like crazy? and then three weeks later that prison was first on the phone. I told you, I told you, I told you You know I was labour what're, you out every nightly measure in the water it. What are you a watered scientists? That's a thing I've just intrigue because they are either some trees down and some awesome trees. Well, you know all the basements were flooded and the the ground parking garages. Cars were bobbing up out from the openings and it was like polish downtown apocalypse- and it was not even any of the properties of the hurricane that are normally cited, whose it didn't rain very hard in those mostly
the and then the winning and then the tide, surge storms or the Thorn surge, and so when I find interesting as most people think that the full moon has like extra gravity to make the tide, the moon, when its full does not make any, Your tides than its at any other phase. The only difference is it lines with the sun at the same time, so that their tides add together, giving you the highest tides of the month. Because the tide is only a function of how far the moon is from earth so funny nothing to do with the phase at all weight to the full moon is just indication that the tides will be higher because its lined up with the sun, but the result of it not the result of it being full advantage of its when its lined up with the sun. You sing a full the moon lit up, but the fact that the moon, go alone is not if there were no sun universes.
High tide, everyday lives would be fine if we just had no sign. That is a very good point. Neil you for clarifying that the real culprit is that we have sought. So was it just bad luck? that Sandy hit Manhattan at high tide of the day and high tide of the month, there are several high tides in a day and then is the highest hydrant full and new moon yeah. It was bad luck. The difference between high and low tide at that time was about five feet and Yeah the peak of the storm surge, which doesn't last that long couple hours, maybe came very close to the high time so that we got the maximum of both at the same time. So the tide was about. It battery the battery, the Tipp of Manhattan, lower Manhattan, right, there's a tidy there and it measured so five feet a tide, nine feet, a storm sorts of ass. It were team, above the law- but I have a question: is it easier instead of getting rid of a hurricane to delay it then? So just Billy
Barrow come interview you out yet if it became three hours later one earlier, we would have been thought it. Come three hours later, it would have been a lot better for Manhattan and may be Staten Island broken to open a lot enlargement sound because their tied to three hours, there's no way more people live in Manhattan than on long island. Billy Jos best albums about ok. So Sandy was unusual for New York. Simply because we have bad luck. Is what you're saying Well, it was unusual and a lot of ways. The synchronization of the storm surge in the tide was one of em. It was also just a big storm search because it was marginal category one authority or something miles per hour, so winds that strong were out too about five hundred miles from the centre. So simple, A thousand end to end why a very, very large area of high winds
They were blown right towards ashore over a very long area. Does that builds up? idle sales. It off the link over which the wind blows the same way as called the fetch and fetch was very large. Blowing the water so tenuous, easily wines, as I stage underlying right. Into shore? Support the third get us heavy rains can get us heavy wins, can guess it's three ways: hurricanes with this year and serves as the one we always have to worry about the most in New York, because we're a lot of low lying areas we're not going to get a category four or five stormy waters to call Miami ears. He's a difference largest imagining that category one that was sandy and of Sandy what category three we still be without power. Depends. I mean a smaller storm would have been very destructive, been over much smaller area and the surge depends on angle. It comes in at the speed of comes in at the size of the storm, so it was a bad very your city is yes. No doubt we know that we figured that out
Unlocking the secrets of your world and everything orbiting around it, this so we have some bad hurricanes in nineteen hundred the great Galveston Hurricane. I read this: Someone's applauding hurricane given up again, so I think it is wait, when two hundred fifty miles an hour, the island Galveston. This is off the servant. Texas. The island is eight feet above sea level and the storm surge was fifteen feet. Show. The entire island got wiped clean
I heard a Jesus over here is the first time that person has heard about anything said so in gas. Is six thousand people that is before we have satellite images. The people that are needed space program or wait. What is the hurricane coming so back? Then they couldn't predict tapping my greatest hits list here: nineteen, twenty six, the hurricane in Miami NOS nineteen only six hundred twenty mile in our wines, if you had Hurricane hit today on that trajectory? It would be the most devastating hurricane in history, because the populations, matters are different today and a much more dense than they were back then so, because people keep having sat down precisely and so hurricanes can grow in their damn tractor simply because of our living pattern. I got no
team, thirty six Labour day hurricanes. So this is the most powerful hurricane on record, hitting the United States. Did you know this. Yeah, so that one tore through the Pharisees full of category five hundred eighty miles an hour away while atmospheric pressure, twenty six point, three five inches of mercury, yet that was no. I got an eighteen. Ninety one hurricane grace, you know put out on the map the perfect, perfect storm. That's right! There was an aunt em and is not a day as well. You find a way to mention Matt Damon for every one of these start. I just wanted you to be my bride. Please me Matt Damon, and I have also from Boston that won't, apparently only category two, but it combined with MID Atlantic Cyclops everything came perfect for the hurricane and made a movie
This was a malaria sandy accepted Sandy hit us say, I got a place out along I once I care about this long island sound. I joked earlier. I care and a three thousand pound tree spell two feet to the side of my car. The car still got dinged, but it wasn't smash I told my son to go out and count the tree rings, which he did he got you like seventy rings and is one of the biggest trees in the property, and, I said, wait a minute. This is one of the biggest trees then have presumably the most rings. That means under these trees were here earlier than seventy years ago, one ring equals one year. Yes, yes, because the ring is represents the growth pattern, because over the winter the tree doesn't grow. It needs energy from the sun which a guest and sort of synthesis in the least so uneasy leave, there's no sign in the winter I gotta go on now,
There is no leaves in the winter, so Look it up, and I found there was a devastating hurricane. The cross long island, like in nineteen, thirty, eight. So there's no like significant event, station that survived that transition, so a high powered hurricane, pivots civilization on things like that you're thirty. Eight was very destructive storm the strongest one I think to come make sure enough. There was in Rhode, Island, Jackie, made landfill personal island and went through New England yeah. So I got a couple more you're, so Hurricane Andrew now, because Its name Andrew and Andrew begins with a that means what about it first, one of us. So Andrew is on the books at forty billion dollars in damage, and it was huge, was huge hurricane cared a lot of energy and bring this
Ok, this was my city, obviously miss the hurricane Andrew Class, two thousand and five course Katrina. In fact, those category five in the Gulf Landforms only category three Book Norland should have surely survive that, and it's really to faulty engineering. There does any. Yes, severe weather, like the United States, those we get hurricanes, and tornadoes in drought and floods am fires and locusts and frogs and weak. Our country, you know, God bless America and it looks like god- is not blessing. America. When you add all this up, there is definitely places they get it allow worse in terms of hurricanes in tornadoes we're number one we win, oh by the way we take for granted that in the wizard of OZ. They just showed a tornado, but if we are the capital of twenty nine and ten
since twenty two alley in what is routine for us? Becomes the centre point of a film for the rest of the world S an extraordinary whether front yeah, I guess so is the land of oz- is certain facts. Would have been a little more surreal than the tornado itself. I would have to agree with that. The future of space and the secrets of our planet reveal start. I Turkey's before this century, like this
sixteen o nine. That decade was extraordinary. Science and literature. Kepler was alive at the time, a famous straw. So is Galileo system? on Galileo made us first observations of the night sky with his newly built telescope and published a book a year later called Siberia noon, seas where he drew the fact that Jupiter had these stars that hung around with it. The will turn out to be Jupiters Moons map spots in the sun and Queen Elizabeth, was queen of England and at work was also Shakespeare and a storm of sixteen o nine various fleets work in the MID Atlantic moving between England and the colonies Debbie on the basis of William Shakespeare is play. The tempest
When did you start naming hurricanes and who dames them and who names and thinking it? Why isn't it me Eric aim, Mr Jelly? Happy man, I don't have the exact year. They started getting aims. Shortly after world war. Two that late yeah while and I remember example of thirty eight- is called the thirty eight hurricane. It's not cause, and I call for our ok now. I understood correctly from wrong initially all hurricanes were only named after women, because their terrible that, because they use their wild control because, at the time? No one was able to predict which way the hurricane was going. And all the meteor ology were men Finally, and now the giants the unpredictability of hurricanes to the unpredictability of their spouse
you lie, I believe I was less exist, but there like you will Shakespeare line hell. Have, though, fury like a woman scorn. I can neither confirm or deny that weight only during the rise of the modern women's liberation movement of the nineteen seventies. They started interlacing them with yet way have a question: why did they start predicting? That hurricanes might come like as an eighteen hundreds? They probably will I gotta go its own way by it, but now thirty eight hurricane dated no until two seconds before it right. I think it was a little bit better than better than two seconds, and I mean there were forecast from way back what they weren't any good. That's not a forecast. That's witchcraft forecast! Is this? If you say what's gonna happen, light is another
right, but that's a super interesting thing: that's why they pay me the wind they starts forecasting would like a modicum of possible accuracy. The first attempts to use the laws of physics predict whether were you know in the early twentieth century It got more serious after work to what we have computers that has all dabbler have something to do. Not let us do it that came later, Doppler readers. Let us see how fast the raindrops are moving your way. What is doppler than our past raindrops, while it sounds very romantic doppler, is that now that
guy named a gentleman who remain Christian, Doppler, yes and he's a german physicist, and he did experiments with train whistles rightly noted. That is a train approached louder. Well, yes, I got louder. Louder is now what it was. The discovery wasn't that noise is get louder as they approach you sounded, train whistle comes and what he noticed was that the speech of the sound was higher as it approached him, then what it was when it receded. So for us modern folk, if you stand on this, Javert Highway. The cargo vary, so you can calculate the shift, change the shifting the pitch and know exactly two speed. Train, so the sound waves getting waiting. So I
a wave, but on our motion, so I come a little closer and then I make my next waves. I've compressed the waves in front of it, so the wavelength increased, but we have an increase wave like the pitcher flower. Ok, the frequency and physics terms is lower. So once you measure that shit, you know exactly how fast the thing is moving and it's because of that fact, We know we live in an expanding universe, you re right so on a more cosmic scale. Yeah also tells us how fast the raindrops are moving towards. This are away from other doppler rate. I can tell you not just that it's raining or art it's raining but which direction the winds are blowing in the place where it's written answer. When did forecasting go from like by thinking it's going to
windy and a week to align. I oh, it's gonna, be an eye in ready, short, so windy. This is an important story of hurricanes, Andy. Actually, the modern science of whether forecasting started to be what it is shortly after world WAR, two with the first computer, whether models and then over time. Those computer models are getting better and better course. Computers have got much more powerful ones phone can do as much more powerful than the first computers that I know. Well, I wouldn't usual back environment, these those people right and then the observations, the measurements with the balloons and the radar is now the satellites that we need to tell the bottles how to start the forecast because they need to know what's happening now to get to the future has gotten much better. Hurricane Sandy was forecast pretty accurately by some of the models about a week ahead of time. Some of them were doing something different. We gotta tons of works Europe that forecasts we write about four days before we were pretty sure. That's an amazing,
achievement that could have been done a decade of four days. Warning is enough to prepare a sitting in New York City, the mayor, we pre clothes, the subway, we reclosed public transportation, there's a lot of crap work. That was done in anticipation of this. It was a day will you would have known it in enough time to do anything about it. Absolutely in this segment we are from the powerhouse in Brooklyn are taken up. Has Galileo job the organs wish you could listen, the star talk, commercial, free, joint startled compatriot on for as little as five dollars per month and the ads will disappear. Learn more at patriarch dot com last star talk, radio
Transcript generated on 2020-01-25.