Posts tagged: megadrought

California Wildfires Are Spiraling Out Of Control

California Wildfires Are Spiraling Out Of Control

In these past days my attention was caught by the massive wildfires that have been rampaging the north of California. The media have given this phenomenon a lot of attention, and with good reason: the fires are massive and seem to be spreading at a more-than-alarming rate. The reason for the wildfire seems uncertain at this point, but if you come to think about it, there’s no ONE reason for the fire. As suggested, the starting point of the wildfires is most likely the numerous dry lightning strikes that took place over this past week, mostly in northern California.

But maintaining the gargantuan flames requires way more than simply the source of the outburst.

Years of severe drought (especially the last 4) have left their mark on the local vegetation, leaving behind numerous thickets of dried vegetation, which burnt violently, helping the fires spread “at the speed of light”. In my humble opinion, the impact would’ve been lesser if these past 4 years, the right investments and measure of precautions would have been taken by the local authorities. The signs of what was coming were evident, but collective lack of reaction is costing us dearly, as the aftermath will undoubtedly be far more expensive than the preventive measures involved.

So far the wildfire has stopped at nothing. It continued his destructive course even over a highway in Napa Valley. As the fires continue to spread, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (Cal Fire) has placed over 13,000 people under order of evacuation and listed about 7,000 structures as threatened, most of which are homes. The Rocky Fire (as the blaze was named) has already engulfed 68,000 acres so far and destroyed well over 50 buildings since it eruption last week, in arid canyons near Clearlake. The costs of the destruction haven’t been estimated so far; they’re to be accurately calculated once the ordeal is over. I for one am even afraid to fathom the deficit that this will add to our already declining economy.

http://edition.cnn.com/2015/08/04/us/california-wildfires/

Smoke from the blaze is visible up to 80 miles South of Napa. But despite seeming at its peak, the ordeal is far from over. This upcoming week is thought to be even hotter and drier than the previous periods of time, according to Cal Fire estimates. So dampening the impact of the flames is still out of the question. But despite the grim scenario, firefighters are doing their best in order to control the pace of destruction. Over 10,000 firemen have been deployed in the area, along the state line, including even off duty personnel who was called back to work due to the state of emergency. According to Cal Fire, 3,200 men are assigned directly to the Rocky Fire vicinities, along with70 bulldozers, 19 water-dropping helicopter units and 5 air tankers.

The Obama administration was informed of the cataclysmic proportions of the wildfires in California, but didn’t seem to react promptly or decisively in the matter, having very little to say about the upcoming state of events. According to official news releases, most of the president’s time is filled with the unveiling on August the 10th 2015 of the final version of his plan in order to tackle climate change, which is set on reducing carbon emissions from the power sector by 32%. But this has very little to do with tackling the current unfolding disasters that are already taking place. The current lack of infrastructures is leaving the U.S. vulnerable to immediate disasters. The government’s plan is to reduce future climate impacts, but it’s hardly touching the subject of how natural disasters are affecting the lives of millions of Americans today. The Clean Power Plan (as the program is called), is most likely doomed to fail, as did others before it, if the funding of necessary infrastructure to withstand natural disasters scenarios will be delayed even further than it already has.

Survive!

Salvation, however does not lie in governments, does not necessarily dwell in collective efforts. I’m afraid we’re past that point already. They will promise and they will bargain, but at the end of the day, it all comes down to you, to your adaptability and survival instincts. We’ve been set on the road for destruction for many years now, and the Rocky Fire does nothing more than to demonstrate that it has already hit the fan, that the hard days that were coming are already here! So get ready, while there’s still time. Take all the survival precautions necessary: stack up on resources and reserves, start learning about what it takes to survive in hard times and be ready to defend yourself and the ones you love.

by My Family Survival Plan

Global Climate Change: What’s Happening And How Will It Affect Us?

Global Climate Change - What’s Happening And How Does It Affect Us

Climate change is taking place! Slowly but surely it’s affecting everything, including the American continent. Over the past 50 years, in the U.S. alone, the temperatures have risen by 2°F. By the end of the century they are about to grow by another 7 – 11°F more. The effects can be dampened only if the pollution factor gets dropped to a minimum, this meaning the temperatures rise will only be about 4–6.5°F.

The U.S. Global Research Program (a consortium consisting of 13 federal department and agencies) released a reports that talk about the seriousness of climate changes and how they impact everyday life in the U.S. The general consensus is that if we act swiftly, cautiously and take all the necessary precautions, the impact of climate changes will be minimum on social life, the economy and the environment.

Here is what’s going on at the moment. And these changes will only continue to further throughout the continent, according to the Third National Climate Assessment Report.

The Northeast’s heat waves, heavy precipitations and the fast and constant rise of the sea level will end up in having severe consequences on every-day life. More and more cities in the danger zone have begun lately to consider the climate change effects as a serious problem, as they can heavily debilitate ecosystems, agriculture and even infrastructure.

In the Southeast there’s also talk and worry about the ever-rising sea level and the direct negative impact it could have on the local environment and economy. Extreme heat waves will engulf the area, affecting everything from agriculture to industry to personal health of the populous. Water reserves and availability will decrease, resulting in severe consequences.

The Southwest’s main reason of concern is the wildfires brought on by massive increases on heat and severe droughts. Insect outburst have also been recorded in several states in the region. The continuous erosion of the coastal area is bound to bring heavy flooding on the continent. Public health will be generally affected by the heat waves and the decline of the water supplies will affect crops and the ecosystem alike.

The Northwest will be subject to coastal erosion, sea level rise and flooding. Ocean acidity levels seem to have risen in the past years. Insect outbreaks have already been recorded and plant diseases seem to affect more and more trees. Dead trees, devoid of water and nutriments pose a great risk as they’re easily subject to wildfires.

The Midwest will be severely affect by extreme downpours. As a result of this, infrastructure, agriculture, transportation and general health will be severely affected. The heavy rains will alternate with waves of extreme heat. This alternation will have dire consequences on the ecosystems of the Great Lakes.

crops

Impacts on public health

Extreme heat waves normally occur on the continent once every 20 years or so. But if the emission and atmospheric pollution levels are not reduced fast, we risk been subject to such heat waves every single year! The temperature won’t suffer only a change in occurrence, but also in intensity, as extreme temperatures can grow by a mind-blowing 10°F!

Those most susceptible and most vulnerable to such an impact are children, the elderly and the sick. Higher temperatures will create the conditions for rising levels of lung-damaging low-altitude ozone and respiratory allergies in urban areas.

The risk of ozone levels is imminent. Based on today’s levels of air pollution, scientist predict that by mid-century the number of Red Ozone Alert Days (when the air is unhealthy for everybody) will have increased by 68%. The most affected area will be the Eastern part of the country. In New Mexico the health costs from low-altitude ozone and heat weaves will total to a $1.6 billion by 2080.

extreme heat map

The heat waves will rise and effect even the areas with poor history of such phenomena, like the Northeast (where there have never been recorded over 2 days in a row of +100°F or more than 20 days in a row of +90°F). Under a high emissions scenario (where air pollution levels haven’t decreased in the slightest) many urban regions in the area will be subject to over 60 days of +90°F by 2100 and 14 – 28 days of +100°F (in major cities la Philadelphia or New York). The Midwest faces even graver dangers due to high temperature rises, especially cities like Cleveland and San Diego.

The Southeast and Gulf states are also targeted by the upcoming heat waves. Miami will become hotter the Bangkok (considered to be the world’s hottest major city at the present) and in cities like Florida, the daily highs could exceed 90°F for more than half a year. In cities like Dallas, Houston and Tampa extreme heat claims on average 28 deaths per year. It takes only a moderate increase in temperature to increase this number to 60 – 75 deaths per year.

In major cities (like California) heat-related costs could grow by 2100 to about $14billion per year.

As general advice, try and keep away as much from the sun as possible. Drink plenty of fluids, make sure you stack up on water and wear sun-screen if you must go out on a hot day. Don’t over expose yourself to air-conditioning during hot weather, as sudden changes in temperature and humidity affect the respiratory system.

By My Family Survival Plan

NASA: World Is Running Out of Water

NASA: World Is Running Out of Water

Like with climate change, human action is to blame, according to the researchers. The world is losing its underground water resources at an alarming rate, according to new data collected by NASA satellites.

According to a study released this week in the journal Water Resources Research, humans are primarily responsible for the dramatic situation.

As for global warming (which is also mainly man-made), it affects water reserves in the areas located near the equator.
“Significant segments of the Earth’s population are consuming groundwater quickly without knowing when it might run out,” observed the scientists.
Water intensive industrial activities like mining are especially contributing to this trend.

About one-third of the largest groundwater basins of the world (13 of 37) are quickly depleting, according to the investigation, without being replenished: most of the water extracted from aquifers evaporates after consumption, or ends in rivers and oceans with the waste it carries.

The study was based on the comparison between 2003 and 2013 images from the twin Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites, and the data was then processed by a joint team from NASA and the University of California.Study
“Given how quickly we are consuming the world’s groundwater reserves, we need a coordinated global effort to determine how much is left,” said UCI professor and principal investigator Jay Famiglietti, who is also the senior water scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, reported RT.

Aquifers of the world supply about 2 billion people with freshwater. The aquifers in danger are located in poor, densely populated areas, like northwest Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, and North Africa, where alternatives to underground water are scarce. In the case of a drought, people tend to “rely much more heavily on groundwater”, like in California, added Famiglietti.

Alexandra Richey, the research project’s leading scientist, said the team has tried to warn the international community and call for active management of water resources today, in order to protect the future.

In April, a FAO study found that water scarcity will affect two-thirds of the world’s population by 2050 and will strongly impact on the food security of various regions of the planet. Already 40 percent of the world population lacks proper access to water, mainly because of overconsumption of water for food production and agriculture.

This content was originally published by teleSUR at the following address:
www.teleSURtv.net/english

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