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In this episode of The Gate 15 Interview, Andy Jabbour visits with Dr. Jeff Masters. Jeff Masters, Ph.D., worked as a hurricane scientist with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990. After a near-fatal flight into category 5 Hurricane Hugo, he left the Hurricane Hunters to pursue a safer passion – earning a 1997 Ph.D. in air pollution meteorology from the University of Michigan. In 1995, he co-founded the Weather Underground, and served as its chief meteorologist and on its Board of Directors until it was sold to the Weather Company in 2012. Between 2005-2019, his Category 6 blog was one of the Internet’s most popular and widely quoted sources of extreme weather and climate change information. He now frequently writes for YALE Climate Connections.
In the discussion we address:
- Jeff’s incredible Hurricane Hugo experience.
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report and going beyond the ‘planetary boundaries of safe operation for the planet.’
- Jeff’s important ideas to understand about climate change.
- Jeff discusses his two biggest climate concerns – the disruptive threats from sea level rise and drought, including:
- A potential ‘massive financial threat to the US.’ Jeff says, ‘we’re not correctly pricing risk…there threatens to be a shakeout in the…market’ and he notes insurance company struggles in Florida, Louisiana and California as examples before discussing the potential cascading effects associated with humans fleeing from the coasts.Threats to critical infrastructure, including real estate, water and wastewater, transportation and supply chains.
- And he explains his concerns about drought impacting food prices and leading to famine.
- Hurricane season 2023, an anticipated El Nino year, perhaps something that may look like the 2018 hurricane season.
- Plus! Devo, getting outdoors, watermelon, and the beauty of the Havasupai Canyon.
A few references mentioned in or relevant to our discussion include:
- Jeff’s Hurricane Hugo Experience:
- Weather Underground: Hunting Hugo: The Hurricane Hunters’ Wildest Ride, a multi-part story of Jeff’s incredible experience in the eye of Hurricane Hugo. Weather Underground: A flight through Hurricane Hugo, remembered 20 years later, 15 Sep 2009.
- After our recording, Jeff kindly provided this update: Originally published in Weatherwise magazine, Hunting Hugo was made available in digital form, complete with the many photos I took on the flight, on the web site I co-founded, Weather Underground. A separate account of the flight was written by a reporter from Barbados who was on the flight, and was published in my Weather Underground blog in 2009. There was a 45-minute episode of “Air Crash Investigation” (AKA “Mayday”) on the Hugo flight called “Into the Eye of the Storm” that aired in 2014. Several hundred thousand dollars was spent on the episode, which included CGI effects, a set built in Toronto to simulate the flight, and actors playing the crew and scientists. In 2022, the video was available with a paid subscription to Paramount Plus. The video was also available for free at apparat.com.
- Take to the Sky: The Air Disaster Podcast: Episode 85: NOAA 42 Hurricane Hunters, 02 Dec 2021
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report:
- The Guardian: Scientists deliver ‘final warning’ on climate crisis: act now or it’s too late, 20 Mar
- IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, 20 Mar
- IPCC IPCO Sixth Assessment Report Working Group 1: The Physical Science Basis; Summary for Policymakers
- New York Time: Earth to Hit Critical Warming Threshold by Early 2030s, Climate Panel Says, 20 Mar
- Climate.gov: Climate Change: Global Sea Level, 19 Apr 2022
- NASA Vital Signs
- NASA Sea Level Change; Observations from Space
- NASA Sea-Level Toolkit: New Guide Helps Planners Prepare, 07 Feb 2023
- CNN: Threat of rising seas to Asian megacities could be way worse than we thought, study warns, 08 Mar 2023
- Space.com: Sea level rise slowed down in 2022. NASA says it’s just a blip, 22 Mar
- NOAA: Destructive 2018 Atlantic hurricane season draws to an end; NOAA services before, during, after storms saved lives and aided recovery, 28 Nov 2018
- Jeff recommended this book: The Great Displacement; Climate Change and the Next American Migration, by Jake Bittle
Some of Jeff’s recent writing:
- YALE Climate Connections: With global warming of just 1.2°C, why has the weather gotten so extreme? Climate change increases extreme weather by adding more heat and moisture to the air and through disruption of fundamental atmospheric circulation patterns, 06 Mar 2023
- YALE Climate Connections: The other ‘big one’: How a megaflood could swamp California’s Central Valley; A repeat of the state’s Great Flood of 1861-62 could cause over $1 trillion in damage, 25 Jan 2023
- YALE Climate Connections: If a megaflood strikes California, these dams might be at risk; The state’s highest-risk dams protect millions of people and tens of billions in property, including Disneyland and the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach, 26 Jan 2023
The Gate 15 Interview is a monthly interview between Gate 15’s founder and Managing Director, Andy Jabbour and guests from throughout the homeland security risk management community addressing a wide range of all-hazards topics and issues. Read more about Gate 15’s full podcast menu at our Podcast page. You can subscribe and enjoy all the Gate 15 Podcasts on Anchor, Apple, Spotify, Google, as well as other locations accessible from the Anchor link. Week-to-week, you can hear and learn more about our all-hazards threats, risks, mitigation and other issues impacting homeland security risk management from our team as well as our regular and special guests. The full podcast menu includes:
Read more about Gate 15’s full podcast menu at our Podcast page. You can subscribe and enjoy all the Gate 15 Podcasts on Spotify for Podcasters, Apple, Spotify, Google, as well as other locations accessible from the Anchor link. Week-to-week, you can hear and learn more about our all-hazards threats, risks, mitigation and other issues impacting homeland security risk management from our team as well as our regular and special guests. The full podcast menu includes:
- The Security Sprint is our weekly rundown of the week’s notable all-hazards security news, risks and threats and some of the key focus areas for organizations to consider behind the headlines. Gate 15 team members discuss physical security, cybersecurity, natural hazards, health threats and other issues across our environment.
- The Risk Roundtable is a recurring monthly discussion among our team and occasional guests as we explore the all-hazards threats and risks impacting the United States and internationally.
- The Cybersecurity Evangelist, with Jennifer Lyn Walker, is a cybersecurity-focused discussion with Jen and invited guests.
- Nerd Out! Security Panel Discussion, moderated by Dave Pounder, focuses on physical security topics including terrorism, extremism, hostile events, and other pertinent topics.
- The Gate 15 Interview is a monthly interview between Gate 15’s founder and Managing Director, Andy Jabbour and guests from throughout the homeland security risk management community addressing a wide range of all-hazards topics and issues.