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Climate Change: Is the Weather Getting Worse?


Weather risks represent a challenge for cranes, construction firms and other companies with outdoor operations. Without any preparation and response, extreme weather conditions can cause more material damage and safety concerns.

Temperatures around the world are constantly changing between hot and cold, this is described as “climate change”, the changing of weather patterns. Temperature fluctuations are becoming more drastic, and one recent example is the first temperature above 20°C ever recorded in Antarctica.

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Wind Speeds Are Increasing Around the World

According to scientific evidence, average wind speeds are increasing worldwide.

  • Between 2010 and 2020, the global average wind speed increased from 7 to 7.4 mph, which increases the output for a typical wind turbine by 17%.
  • However, the outlook is not so great when we consider that winds are also becoming more violent.

The journal Nature Climate Change published a study on the increase in global wind speeds since 2010. The researchers concluded that wind changes are mostly due to natural climate cycles at large scale. These cycles can last for decades, and wind patterns are strongly influenced by the interaction between atmospheric and oceanic temperatures. Natural cycles continue, but the study suggests a general warming trend due to human activity.

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Additional Weather Risks in Coastal Regions

Climate change has been linked with melting glaciers and rising sea levels. This changes shorelines, making storms more threatening in coastal areas:

  • The public is aware that storm force winds are dangerous, but the storm surge is also a major threat in coastlines.
  • A storm surge can flood large areas in a short time, damaging buildings and disabling public services.
  • According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, the global sea level rose by 8 inches between 1880 and 2009.
  • A higher sea level moves the shoreline further inland, exposing more areas to storm surges.

Warm water also contributes to stronger cyclones. In general, tropical storms become stronger when sea water has temperatures above 26°C (79°F). Warm humid  air strengthens the cyclone further, since water vapour releases heat during condensation.
 

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Accurate Weather Monitoring

Weather monitoring can help prevent accidents, tracking variables like wind speed, temperature, pressure and humidity.

  • With instant wind gust alerts available to any personnel on site, accidents are reduced and the safety of the site is improved.

  • Historical daily and weekly reports can justify any downtime disputes and provide insight to any wind hazards on site.

  • Wind forecasting at the correct height improves planning for the weeks ahead and maximizes productivity on site.

Since the wind has become stronger and less predictable in the past decade, additional risk mitigation measures are necessary. Wind conditions create risks for cranes in construction and other industries with outdoor operations.

WINDCRANE is a complete wind warning and logging system which has been designed with direct feedback from the construction industry. It’s reliable GSM technology can retrieve wind  measurements from any crane or project site instantly, with a cloud-based software that is available 24/7. You can even set up mobile notifications to alert you when wind speeds are too dangerous for construction work.

WINDCRANE gives you complete visibility of wind gust hazards on site with a combination of LIVE, HISTORICAL and FORECAST data available for any smart phone or internet connected device.

  • A single gust with enough strength can cause a multitude of issues for construction managers and personnel.
  • In large construction projects with cranes, high structures, hoists and general building traffic, it may be necessary to stop lifting activities due to high winds and bad weather.
  • Project managers, AP’s and crane operators need reliable information before they plan lifting activities to prevent delays and increase productivity.
     

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Scientific Evidence of More Violent Weather

Scientists don’t expect an increase in the number of cyclonic storms, but they will likely become stronger. A cyclonic storm can be described as a massive heat engine, and warm ocean water acts as the power source. As the average ocean temperature rises, stronger storms and wind gusts can be expected.

Conclusions of scientific studies:
 

Research Institution

Conclusions

NOAA/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, Princeton, New Jersey Total number of cyclones will decrease, but their intensity and rainfall will increase. Category 4 and 5 hurricanes could become more common.
Nature Geoscience By 2100, the total frequency of tropical storms could decrease by 6-34%, but intense cyclones could become 20% more frequent.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) In Texas, the rainfall from Hurricane Harvey had a probability of 1% per year, between 1981 and 2000. However, the probability for 2017 was 6%, and it could increase to 18% by 2081-2100.
Climate Dynamics For every 1°C of average global temperature rise, the fraction of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes increases by 25-30%


With the weather getting more intense and less predictable, having the right information is crucial. Using a WINDCRANE weather monitoring service ensures you have the best information available for effectively planning your week ahead in order to meet agreed construction deadlines and allows you to monitor your operations remotely to ensure a safe environment against any unpredictable weather.

 

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