Saturday, April 27, 2019
Remember, This Is Early-Onset Climate Change.
Eastern Canada is reeling from flooding that even Doug Ford admits is the result of climate change - and, hard as this is to say, he's right.
The hydrologic cycle tells no lies. Water is transformed into water vapour through evaporation and transpiration and released into the atmosphere. As it reaches cooler air it condenses into clouds. When the moisture levels are high enough it returns to the Earth as rain. Where it rains is largely a function of air currents.
Warmer surface temperatures mean more evaporation, more transpiration. Warmer atmospheric temperatures mean the skies can hold more moisture, somewhere between 7 and 14 per cent at the moment. Warmer, moister air provides additional energy that can trigger severe storm events - hurricanes, tornadoes, floods.
Compounding that is a change in air current patterns partly the result of a warming, and hence more powerful, Arctic atmosphere. Now, instead of a gently undulating snake pattern that distributes rain predictably on its west to east course, the jet stream meanders far to the south and far to the north. Hot air gets dragged into the north while cold air plunges deep into the south. These patterns, called Rossby Waves, sometimes stall as the did over Calgary a few years ago.
A warmer surface also causes earlier and more sudden melting of ice and snowpacks, adding to surface flooding.
Think of this worsening flooding as nature's kick in the ass to climate deniers and climate delayers, those supporting our fossil fuel economy (exaggerated as it is). Some provinces are taking greenhouse gas emission seriously, some aren't. Their successes, however, are to a considerable degree defeated by the fossil fuel giants and their political acolytes and you know who I mean.
Despite everything that's happening, how these impacts are worsening, and the predictions for climate change just in the decade ahead, the 2020s, these leaders think expanding our fossil fuel production is just fine. Oh well, come October three out of four of you will vote for them but, in the meantime, you do have my thoughts and prayers for these rising waters.