Updates on Santa Clara Valley Water District Climate Change Portal #ClimateChange @ValleyWater

One of the best places to keep up with climate change — the Santa Clara Valley Water District Climate Change Portal — has gotten better (if I do say so myself).

The portal covers news and research on climate change, especially when they have to do with:

  1. Water sector issues: water supply, water quality, floods, droughts, rainfall, etc.
  2. California

What’s changed?

First, a shorter URL: http://apps2.valleywater.org/Climate_Change/.

Second, the capability to combine topics and geographical areas to limit your search results. Let’s say you want to read research on sea level rise. Under “Climate Change Reports,” you click “Browse by Topic” and scroll down to the Science section, then click on Sea Level Rise. You get 386 reports (as of this writing).

Then, let’s say you’re interested in flooding as a result of sea level rise. So, you look under “Combine Topics” and click on Flooding. Now, you’re down to 108 reports.

Then, you’re really interested in Bay Area effects. So, under “Limit by Place,” you choose San Francisco Bay and Delta and you get a more reasonable 20 reports.

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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

90 firms have emitted almost two-thirds of greenhouse carbon in the industrial age #libraries

Just 90 companies have emitted 63 percent of the carbon emitted to the atmosphere since the industrial age began in 1751. That finding has been reported in various news outlets recently. But do you know how researchers determined that?

I have colleagues at various universities: at Cambridge, at the British Library in London, in Sydney, in Johannesburg, Berkeley, to look at collections of annual reports housed in business libraries. Unfortunately, most of them aren’t catalogued so we had to go in person to dusty stacks and find the old reports for most of these investor-owned companies going back to the early 1900s, sometimes even earlier than that.

Generations of business librarians have saved those annual reports, having no idea that people in the 21st century would study them to determine greenhouse gas emissions.

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

Climatological data will be free starting Monday

I received the following e-mail this week from the National Climatic Data Center:

If you are receiving this email you are a current online subscriber to Edited Local Climatological Data (Edited LCD) publication, Climatological Data (CD) publication, Edited Local Climatological Data – ALL stations, ASCII files only, or the Edited Local Climatological Data, Annual Summary – ALL stations, PDF files only.

Major changes are in the process of being implemented to our online publications and subscriptions access systems. Beginning on Monday, February 13th, publications will no longer be available for subscription purchase. Each of the major publications available from our Imaging and Publications system will become available to all users at no charge. If you are a current subscriber, you may continue to access your data via the subscription access system, however, it is not necessary. You may simply visit the Images and Publications (IPS) web page for access – http://www7.ncdc.noaa.gov/IPS/

Online ordering of certification for the Edited LCD publication will continue to be available for purchase through the online store and a link for this will be provided via the IPS system.

These changes are part of NCDC’s ongoing effort to provide more of our online data to all users at no charge.

This is very great news (and probably about time). When I would renew our subscription every year, I would be amused by the question asking where I had heard of Climatological Data. I can’t remember not knowing about it! Every library I have worked in has had a subscription to Climatological Data for our state. It’s the basic record of weather and climate data for as long as such data have been kept.

This is especially good news when the federal government is considering not keeping or not publishing some very basic statistics that it has long provided.

As long as I’m feeling all utopian and all, maybe I can wish that a freely accessible source of authoritative data could bring some agreement to the climate change disputes. Probably not, but I can dream.

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.