HONG KONG, Feb. 15, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Arguably nothing on our planet is changing faster than the weather. Extreme events like deadly dust storms, wildfires, flash flooding and extreme storms exacerbated by climate change are impacting billions of people across the globe. In a brand-new 30-minute program, CNN’s ‘Transformers’ meets the remarkable individuals at the frontline of extreme weather, who are finding new ways to help us survive the elements.
Dust and sand storms have dramatically increased in recent years, due to climate change, land degradation and drought, according to the UN. These impact human health and cause billions of dollars in damage worldwide. CNN hears from Dr. Diana Francis at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, who found correlations between these unusual weather conditions and the impact of global warming on Arctic sea ice. This finding led to her first-ever research on dust storms coming out of the Empty Quarter desert – the world’s largest sand desert – to help determine how dust from the region moves around the planet.
As hurricane hunters for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Lieutenant Commander Danielle Varwig and meteorologist and flight director Nikki Hathaway fly over and into hurricanes to collect weather data to help researchers and forecasters to better understand the storms and to make accurate predictions about them. This data is used in real-time to make life-saving decisions impacting people on the ground, says Hathaway.
Overwintering or ‘zombie’ forest fires, a fire that smoulders beneath the surface of the ground during winter under the snow and reignites when temperatures warm, are becoming more frequent due to climate change according to Rebecca Scholten, PhD student at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, who presented the first scientific evidence of ‘zombie’ fires in boreal forests in Alaska and the Northwest Territories. Along with fellow researcher, Sander Veraverbeke, an associate professor at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Scholten has built an algorithm to detect when and where these overwintering fires occurred, which could help fire services prevent their spread, keeping invaluable carbon in the ground.
CNN then explores Tonga, where an underwater volcano, the Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai volcano erupted on 15 January 2022, producing the largest atmospheric explosion recorded in history, causing deadly tsunamis across the globe. Taaniela Kula, head of the Tonga Geological Services, led a team of Tongan geologists to witness the volcano site. The team captured spectacular footage of the rare and deadly volcano and have since been working to figure out what happened, and why the eruption was so explosive. CNN meets a team of scientists from New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), who spent a month-long expedition using ship-mounted acoustic instruments to map the seafloor. This research has been key to modelling other underwater volcanos around Tonga, helping the island better prepare its disaster response.
Transformers trailer: https://bit.ly/3DTMSq4
Transformers images: https://bit.ly/3KarctE
Airtimes for 30-minute special:
Sunday, 19th February at 9:30am, 1:30pm and 7pm HKT
Sunday, 26th February at 4:30am HKT
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SOURCE CNN International