The waters are rising, the floods are coming. What are we doing to save ourselves?

This is how our changing climate could increase the risk we face from hurricanes

An aeriel view of a hurricane as it moves towards Mexico. Image: REUTERS/NOAA/Handout

When tropical cyclone Idai made landfall near Beira, Mozambique on March 14, a spokesperson for the UN World Meteorological Organization called it possibly the the worst weather-related disaster to hit the southern hemisphere.

This massive and horrifying storm caused catastrophic flooding and widespread destruction of buildings and roads in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi. Mozambique’s President Filipe Nyusi feared the death toll might rise to more than 1,000 people.

Cyclones, also known as hurricanes or typhoons, are intense wind storms that can take thousands of lives and cause billions of dollars in damage. They generate large ocean waves and raise water levels by creating a storm surge. The combined effects cause coastal erosion, flooding and damage to anything in its path.

Although other storms have hit this African coast in the past, the storm track for cyclone Idai is fairly rare. Warmer-than-usual sea-surface temperatures were directly linked to the unusually high number of five storms near Madagascar and Mozambique in 2000, including tropical cyclone Eline. Warmer ocean temperatures could also be behind the intensity of cyclone Idai, as the temperature of the Indian Ocean is 2 C to 3 C above the long-term average….


A Shared Passion for Place Can Make a Business More Resilient

The nature of how and where we work continues to evolve at a rapid pace. The operations of large businesses are often dispersed around the globe, and executives are increasingly mobile. These changes are even greater for the executives who lead organizations. And business schools are reinforcing these norms: Schools today tend to encourage students to construct itinerant careers that unfold across organizations and countries.

But the consequence of greater flexibility and mobility for nomadic executives can be a lack of place. Disconnected from a physical office space, many leaders have identities that are not tied to one location. If they’ve relocated their home base, they expect they will be moving again soon.

The result: Leaders are increasingly strangers in the places where their organizations reside. They often have few deep connections within any one community.

This is problematic if we consider the findings that my colleagues — Scott Baker, Megan Hess, and Jared Harris — and I have uncovered. We explored the experiences of executives during times of hardship, with a keen interest in what makes organizations more resilient (that is, having “the capacity to rebound from adversity strengthened and more resourceful,” as Kathleen M. Sutcliffe and Timothy J. Vogus have written).

We found that leaders who establish ties with the broader community of stakeholders are well-positioned to help their organizations thrive in the face of that hardship. Conversely, this dynamic implies that leaders who lack a clear sense of place and have not established those…


The waters are rising, the floods are coming. What are we doing to save ourselves?

Houses on stilts. Floating buildings. More parks to absorb water. Better maps to warn those at risk.

City planners, builders, engineers and scientists race to find new ways for people to make a home as climate change threatens increased heavy flooding, dangerous weather conditions and extreme storm surges.

Recent events have made clear how urgent the problem is. Dozens of flood records have been broken this week in the Upper Midwest, the National Weather Service said. Heavy flooding that began last week from Minnesota to Missouri has killed at least four people, caused more than $1.5 billion in estimated losses and damages and destroyed more than 2,000 homes. The National Weather Service said flooding in South Dakota and Iowa could soon reach historic levels.

In southern Africa,  a cyclone and related flooding devastated parts of Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe last week. The confirmed death toll has surpassed 500, with hundreds more feared dead in towns and villages that were completely submerged…


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