Since my focus is in Meteorology and Environmental Science I think that I would like to do something related to climate change in relation to the two disciplines. One big difference that climate change has shown us throughout the years, especially in 2017, is that tropical storms and hurricanes are becoming stronger and more destructive for places in the paths of these storms. In 2017, 3 hurricanes left the Caribbean completely destroyed- Hurricanes Irma, Maria and Jose. They all reached a category 5 strength and left places damaged or destroyed. One noteworthy case was Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico was leveled by hurricane Maria and it left many people without power for months, some even until this day! Places were flooded, buildings were destroyed and debris was everywhere. Even though people tried to brace for when Maria made landfall, but the preparation for the storm didn’t seem to be enough to make much of a difference.
I have always been interested in how cities, towns, or states prepare for hurricanes and what could be done to help further prevent destruction in areas that are usually affected by hurricanes–especially since the intensity of hurricanes are getting stronger and more dangerous for these places. Islands are particularly in danger because they are not connected to land and can be prone to flooding and destruction. For my applied project, I will be interviewing civil engineers from companies such as HNTB and Parsons so I can get an idea of what they think can be done in places like Puerto Rico and the Florida Keys to prevent flooding and destruction based on the geo-morphology of the islands. I would ask them questions about directing flood waters to a location that would be off the main roads, figuring out what types of structures to build that would be able to handle high winds and flood waters, and how to prevent power outages by potentially putting power lines underground. The challenge would be that I would need to apply my science background to understand perspectives with civil engineers and figure out how climate change scientists can work with civil engineers to improve the ways people can better prepare for hurricanes in order to prevent damage.
As for the research portion of the project, I would like to connect the rise in CO2 levels to the intensity of hurricanes and other climate change issues. I would like to ask students about their way of life (hopefully 10 participants) in order to have them calculate their carbon footprint, as well as finding out my own. This would help me to understand how a typical person goes about their life and how much they influence climate change in comparison to others. I think it would help people to become more aware of the impact they have on our environment and help figure out ways they can live a more sustainable lifestyle without changing their life completely. This will not only benefit students, but it would help people understand little things they can do to help become more sustainable for the future so we can work on preventing future problems for our planet. Hopefully it will catch on and people will become more aware of the changes in our planet, how this can effect them as individuals and what can be done for the future so that we can slow down the effects we have seen as a result of climate change. I will also be reading at least 4 different articles about our world becoming more sustainable and what we can do about our future.