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Janie Chen’s Blog

Water/Climate News Digest: 7/27/2013 - 8/14/2013

Janie Chen

Posted August 14, 2013

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From Maryland to California and the Great Lakes in-between, the effects of climate change have serious implications for coastal cities, the economy, and the nation’s water resources:

Vulnerable Maryland Weighs Threat of Sea-Level Rise, Washington Post

Washington Post

A few weeks ago, the Maryland Climate Change Summit convened to discuss the threat of climate change and rising sea-levels.  If left unaddressed, rising tides could lead to heavy flooding in Baltimore, Annapolis, St. Michaels, and the lower half of the Delmarva Peninsula. 

“On the Atlantic coast, Maryland’s effort to adapt is among the most advanced, said Robert E. Kopp, associate director of the Rutgers Energy Institute. “Maryland is a lot more aggressive than New Jersey has been, at least before Sandy” tore apart Atlantic City, he said. Broward and Dade counties in Florida have also launched scientific studies related to climate and the seas.”


Global Warming Already Having Dramatic Impacts in California, New Report Says, Mercury News

Mercury News

A report released last week by the California Environmental Protection Agency detailed the impact of climate change on the state’s water supplies, farm industry, forests, wildlife, and public health.  Many, if not all, of these changes are already happening.  According to a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, most Californians—63 percent of the state’s residents—said the effects of global warming are already here. 

A few findings from the report:

  • Since 1895, the annual average temperatures in California have increased about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • The average number of acres scorched by forest fires every year since 2000 is almost double the average of the previous 50 years.
  • The sea level at the Golden Gate has risen 8 inches over the past century.
  • At Lake Tahoe, 52 percent of the precipitation at the lake fell as snow in 1910 compared to 34 percent today.

"Climate change is not just some abstract scientific debate," said California EPA Secretary Matt Rodriquez. "It's real, and it's already here."


Uncharted Waters, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

This two part series explores the man-made influences that are impacting the flow and level of water in the Great Lakes.  Part 1 examines how warming temperatures have dramatically shrunken ice cover while driving up evaporation rates, both leading to a significant and persistent drop in lake water levels.  Part 2 explains how dredging the St. Clair River has also lead to a drop in lake levels and its impact on local property levels as well as the Great Lakes shipping industry.

“Last year was indeed extremely dry. But the past 14 years, on average, have been wetter than usual for Lakes Michigan and Huron, which are actually one body of water connected at the Straits of Mackinac. Even so, the lakes remain about a foot and a half below their average for this time of year. So where did all the water go?

This is not a story about climate change.

It is a story about climate changed.”


In other water and climate change news…

In Reuters, the high cost of extreme weather is evident as the world’s biggest reinsurer, Munich Re, reported more than $794 million in damage claims in its second quarter due to heavy floods in Central Europe… The Philadelphia Inquirer explored the rise of a longer pollen season due to climate change and its impact of human health… The Independent expressed the worries of the world’s biggest fund managers, who are concerned that effects of global warming have serious economic consequences…


From yours truly, the Water and Climate team:

What is the Purpose of the National Flood Insurance Program? Rob Moore

Climate change is lowering Great Lakes water levels. Should Waukesha be allowed to tap into the Lakes?  Aliya Haq

Miami and EPA Ignore Climate Impacts  Rob Moore

Connecticut Steps Forward on Climate Preparedness As North Carolina Falls Backwards  Ben Chou

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