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CNN's 'Transformers' spotlights the changemakers at the frontline of extreme weather

2023-02-15 14:23

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.

CNN’s ‘Transformers’ spotlights the changemakers at the frontline of extreme weather
CNN’s ‘Transformers’ spotlights the changemakers at the frontline of extreme weather

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: 

Transformers images: 

Airtimes for 30-minute special:

Sunday, 19th February at 9:30am, 1:30pm and 7pm HKT

Sunday, 26th February at 4:30am HKT

About CNN International 

CNN's portfolio of news and information services is available in seven different languages across all major TV, digital and mobile platforms, reaching more than 475 million households around the globe. CNN International is the number one international TV news channel according to all major media surveys across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the Asia Pacific region, and Latin America and has a US presence that includes CNNgo. CNN Digital is a leading network for online news, mobile news and social media. CNN is at the forefront of digital innovation and continues to invest heavily in expanding its digital global footprint, with a suite of award-winning digital properties and a range of strategic content partnerships, commercialised through a strong data-driven understanding of audience behaviours. CNN has won multiple prestigious awards around the world for its journalism. Around 1,000 hours of long-form series, documentaries and specials are produced every year by CNNI's non-news programming division. CNN has 36 editorial offices and more than 1,100 affiliates worldwide through CNN Newsource. CNN International is a Warner Bros. Discovery company.

Source: CNN International
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