Sunday :: Jun 22, 2008

Weather Extremes

by Mary

This week the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research released a report covering their assessment about weather observations and what can be expected in the future. Observations about the weather in the past decade or more show that weather extremes are becoming more pronounced.

The effects of global warming for the United States are manifesting themselves as predicted. The report follows up on the work done by the IPPC which covered the coming changes from a global perspective. This week's report brought the assessment to the national level; looking at the impact of changing weather patterns on the north American continent.

2008 has been a harbinger of what's coming: fires and drought in the west, torrential rainfall in the midwest, significantly less ice in the Arctic regions.

Among the major findings reported in this assessment are that droughts, heavy downpours, excessive heat, and intense hurricanes are likely to become more commonplace as humans continue to increase the atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

The report is based on scientific evidence that a warming world will be accompanied by changes in the intensity, duration, frequency, and geographic extent of weather and climate extremes.

In California, where we expect to see the heat waves increase, counties are stepping up their emergency preparedness to help their communities endure the deadly heat. They are well aware that excessive heat can kill the young, the elderly and those poor in health and so county emergency responders are putting in place plans to provide cool refuges for the most intense days of heat.

California also has to plan for the dwindling water supplies which also part of our future. The warming land and lack of water promises to change the state from the agricultural powerhouse that it is today. Santa Cruz county is experiencing its third wildfire this summer and yesterday some 400 fires were being fought in Northern California, set off by lightening strikes, bringing the total number of wildfires since April this year to over 2000.

And the fires, the drought and the heat are only going to become more frequent. We Californians will surely learn to live more lightly on the land as we go into the future.

Mary :: 4:36 PM :: Comments (17) :: Digg It!