Speed blogging #cawater #climate_change

(TM David Zetland)

The late Pete Seeger sang about water, especially the Hudson River he fought for.

Have trouble understanding California’s water system? Even if you’ve lived in the state all your life? One of the foremost experts on the subject, Jay Lund, explains it all for you in one map.

All dry on the Western Front: Compare last year’s California snowpack with this year’s, in satellite images. Click on “View Image Comparison” to get a side-by-side view with a sliding divider.

Whether or not this is evidence of climate change, the long-term warming trend was sustained in 2013. Read more in NCDC’s Global Climate Report.

Climate scientists are 95 percent certain global warming is happening and human actions are largely the cause. AP science writer Seth Borenstein explains what 95% certainty of warming means to scientists.

President Obama said it Tuesday night:

But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.

You might be inclined to argue, but these three arguments have been discredited:

“The warming is just part of a natural cycle.”

“We’ve been warming up since the last ice age.”

“To think humanity can influence the climate is pure arrogance.”

The Los Angeles Times’ letters page editor has no time for climate change denial:

Saying “there’s no sign humans have caused climate change” is not stating an opinion, it’s asserting a factual inaccuracy.

Such errors of fact won’t make it on the LAT’s letters page.

Lest you think that global warming was happening, but has leveled off since 1998: no, it hasn’t and here’s why.

One group that has a monetary stake in the matter is the reinsurance industry. If they bet that the climate will go on as usual and that there will be no more than the usual number of extreme events — and that turns out to be wrong — it could cost them tens of billions of dollars per year. There are no climate change deniers to be found in the reinsurance business.

Finally, if the West Virginia chemical spill were terrorism

Researching emerging issues: climate change through a kaleidoscope #sla2013 #climatechange @SLAERMD

Librarians from different types of institutions spoke about how they see climate change.

  • Environment: Shari Clayman, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • Military: Dr. Gail Nicula, Joint Forces Staff College (emerita)
  • Insurance: Sharon Smith, AIG
  • Health: Lynn Kysh, University of Southern California
  • Moderator: Mary Maguire, World Resources Insitute and ERMD Chair

Slides

Environment

EPA web site, generally:

Water:

Other aspects:

EPA Reports:

U.S. Global Change Research Program

[Update: A good place to keep track of climate change news and reports, especially as they relate to water, is the Santa Clara Valley Water District Climate Change Portal. There's an RSS feed for updates to the reports listings.]

[Note: In the following sections, I will emphasize the environmental points made by the speakers. For more of the content of their remarks, see the slides.]

Military

The branches of the U.S. military are very concerned about climate change, both because they believe it will increase competition for resources in less-stable parts of the world and because it will change the nature of the Arctic.

ABCs of Military Resources by Lily McGovern and Greta Marlatt

Water Scarcity: A Selected Bibliography by Greta Andrusyszyn, librarian, U.S. Army War College

Climate change has been included as a factor in recent national security reviews and other military strategy documents.

DTIC – Unclassified military reports

Homeland Security Digital Library (HSDL) – Government employees can request full access to the collection.

Insurance

Links on climate change and insurance

PG&E Currents articles on climate change

Health

Potential health effects:

  • Heat- and weather-related morbidity and mortality
  • Waterborne diseases
  • Vectorborne and zoonotic diseases
  • Foodborne diseases and malnutrition
  • Respiratory, cardiovascular diseases, stroke
  • Cancer
  • Neurological diseases
  • Human development
  • Mental health

Sources for research:

  • Pubmed – Search National Library of Medicine’s Medline database. If you don’t add any quotation marks or boolean operators, it does a sophisticated synonym search using the Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
  • Gene (NCBI)
  • Grey Literature Report (New York Academy of Medicine)
  • USA.gov

Good and bad ways of dealing with climate change

A group of scientists suggest that concentrating on reducing pollutants like soot, ozone, and methane would mitigate climate change, would show more immediate benefits, and might be more politically feasible than concentrating on carbon dioxide (CO2).

Read more:
To slow climate change, cut down on soot, ozone (NPR)

Simultaneously Mitigating Near-Term Climate Change and Improving Human Health and Food Security (Science magazine, subscription required)

Those are the good ways.

WaterWired has some bad ways of dealing with climate change.

A trove of articles about California from the journal Climatic Change: Get ‘em while they’re hot

The journal Climatic Change has recently published a series of valuable articles about the effects of climate change on California.

Introduction:

Second California Assessment: integrated climate change impacts assessment of natural and managed systems. Guest editorial

Water, Flooding, etc.:

Adapting California’s water system to warm vs. dry climates

Current and future impacts of extreme events in California

Potential impacts of increased coastal flooding in California due to sea-level rise

Potential increase in floods in California’s Sierra Nevada under future climate projections

Estimating the potential economic impacts of climate change on Southern California beaches

Effects of climate change and wave direction on longshore sediment transport patterns in Southern California

A methodology for predicting future coastal hazards due to sea-level rise on the California Coast

Social Issues:

Projecting long-run socioeconomic and demographic trends in California under the SRES A2 and B1 scenarios

Climate change-related impacts in the San Diego region by 2050

The climate gap: environmental health and equity implications of climate change and mitigation policies in California — a review of the literature

Agriculture:

Modifying agricultural water management to adapt to climate change in California’s central valley

Economic impacts of climate change on California agriculture

California perennial crops in a changing climate

Climate extremes in California agriculture

Effect of climate change on field crop production in California’s Central Valley

Economic impacts of climate-related changes to California agriculture

Case study on potential agricultural responses to climate change in a California landscape

Ecosystems:

The impact of climate change on California timberlands

The impact of climate change on California’s ecosystem services

Climate change and growth scenarios for California wildfire

Electric Power:

Simulating the impacts of climate change, prices and population on California’s residential electricity consumption

Climate change impacts on two high-elevation hydropower systems in California

Not specifically about California, but interesting:

A simple technique for estimating an allowance for uncertain sea-level rise

Note: Some of these articles are labeled “Open access,” which means the full text will be free indefinitely. Other articles may be free only until Dec. 31.

Climate change is threatening the American way of life

Scientists are predicting serious consequences from climate change. There’s a good chance that it will lead to water shortages and an increase in violence and civil war, for example. And yet large numbers of Americans aren’t too worried about climate change, especially if they belong to the Republican or Tea parties.

Two recent news items may change their minds. Climate change could do real damage to the American Way of Life.

Baseball could become a more violent sport as pitchers are more likely to retaliate against batters in warmer weather.

Chocolate production could be crippled in the West African nations that produce most of it.

There you have it. If those two items don’t concern every red-blooded American, I don’t know what will.

Climate change may be cooling California

From the Sacramento Bee:

Spring passed California by, and summer remains in hiding.

Nine tornadoes have torn up the Sacramento Valley from Oroville to Fairfield. A giant Sierra snowpack, still frozen fast, has put innumerable summer adventures on hold.

The Golden State’s weather has gone haywire.

And it’s not over yet: Sacramento can expect as much as another 1.4 inches of rain this weekend and temperatures 20 degrees below normal, with more mountain snow.

“It’s what I call global weirding,” said Bill Patzert, a climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. “This has been a very strange year all over the planet.”

Read more: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/06/04/3676297/researcher-says-climate-change.html#ixzz1OSkdqxBH

A new climate conspiracy theory from Iran

Here in the U.S., we’re used to climate change conspiracy theories. They range from:

  1. It’s not happening
  2. If it is happening, it’s completely natural
  3. If it’s happening and it’s caused by humans, it’s too late to do anything about it
  4. If it’s happening and it’s caused by humans, technology will solve everything, and we won’t have to change our lifestyles

“Thinkers” in other countries have other ideas. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says Europe is stealing his country’s rain.

Of course, this is the same government that has made other irrational statements too numerous to mention.

Water Updates: Clean Water Act guidance, climate change, water libraries

Clean Water Act guidance

The EPA has issued proposed guidance under the Clean Water Act, including a definition of “Waters of the United States.”

Some say the EPA shouldn’t issue guidance without going through the whole rulemaking process. However, recent Supreme Court decisions have muddied the waters, so to speak.

Climate Change

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has published two new reports on climate change and Western water. Many news reports wrote about one report or the other, but there are actually two:

A sampling of the news coverage:

The editorial writers at the Las Vegas Review Journal certainly didn’t read the report (or even their own reporter’s news article) when they wrote River’s problems can’t be blamed on global warming. I guess the Bureau of Reclamation is filled with hippie treehuggers.

Don’t want people to worry about greenhouse gases? Just stop publishing the data!

On the other hand, if you are concerned about climate change, and you’re involved in resource management, say, or local government, check out the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE). It’s filled with advice, case studies, directories of contacts, etc.

Water Libraries

UCLA will catalog a noted conservationist’s collection, Los Angeles Times, May 1.

When Ellen Stern Harris died of cancer five years ago at age 76, the pugnacious conservationist left a vast and chaotic collection of letters, research files, photos and publications.

Last Wednesday, a UCLA van pulled up to a chilly storage warehouse in West Los Angeles to pick up 28 cartons of materials, carefully organized by an archivist hired through Craigslist. Over the coming months, UCLA plans to digitize the contents to make them available online to scholars and others interested in California’s political and environmental history.

Considered to be the mother of the California Coastal Zone Conservation Act of 1972, Harris was an environmental activist long before the avocation became fashionable. When The Times named her Woman of the Year in 1969, columnist Art Seidenbaum called her “a modern kind of earth mother who fights for land, sea and air…a state official, a community organizer and a most uncommon scold.”

The Water Resources Center Archives is settling in at the University of California, Riverside, and California State University San Bernardino