Have you been caught in a record rain storm and flooding this summer? Chances are that most of us in the United States and Europe have experienced a heavier than normal rainfall. My travel this summer has brought me to see displaced people following storms (nothing like Louisiana or California). I have seen lakes created from heavy rain submerging homes, closed roads and bridges, yards with 20 uprooted trees, and experienced power outages.
What is going on with these storms? July 2016 was the hottest ever recorded since records started in 1880. As the earth warms, some places get dryer, but in other places the atmosphere is able to hold more moisture dumping larger amounts back to earth. Places in Louisiana received 31 inches of rain, unbelievable! I feel sad for everyone displaced from everything they own.
PBS had an interesting conversation about our weather extremes here. Is this all part of climate change?
There are consequences to our warming earth according to meteorologist Paul Douglas, “More moisture in the air, higher dew points and heat indexes, more thousand-year rains, wet basements with greater regularity, and more expensive insurance policies.”
Minnesota prides itself in being number one, but who would think that land locked Minnesota would top the list in weather insurance claims?? We are all paying for climate change with our health and wallets. Minnesota has become the “New Florida” of the Midwest in paying for weather disasters. The new numbers from 2013 bring Minnesota into the top three states in the United States for catastrophic weather losses. AND…Insurance rates in Minnesota have increased 267% since 1997 according to Bob Johnson of the Insurance Federation of Minnesota.
The tornadoes in Illinois probably bumped Minnesota out of the number one spot for 2013, but the trend continues, and the frequency of extreme rains and hail is one of the triggers of insurance rate increases for Minnesota.
The changes in climate are happenings faster than we have ever seen, and it is clear we are changing the composition of the atmosphere according to Meteorologist Paul Huttner on Minnesota Public Radio.
Yes, we are already paying enormous costs because of the changes in our atmosphere and those that pollute should be paying their fair share. Polluters should be responsible for paying a fee for their contribution of carbon entering the atmosphere. This is a global problem. Minnesota, and the United States together with the EU, need to take leadership to work with the entire world to do what we can to mitigate the climate effects we are seeing. And we should all strive to reduce our individual pollution footprint. Our health and the health of our earth depend on an enormous cooperative effort.
Also, see below the number one catastrophic disaster for the world. It will surprise you:
Looking at this above chart, it is not surprising there are super storms on our oceans. Tens of Thousands are paying for the price of carbon with the loss of lives, homes, and destruction of their world.
I am grieving for the people of the Philippines. What a horrific storm for this Pacific island to withstand. As Typhoon Haiyan was destroying the Philippines, individuals in Minnesota were meeting to plan how to adapt to our changed Minnesota climate. Is it possible for the Philippines, Hawaii, Florida or other ocean locations to adapt to super storms like this? It seems impossible to adapt to a winds of 195 miles an hour or mountains of water washing over the land. Without a doubt the warming and rising oceans played into this disaster. Residents reported, “Surges of water as high as the trees.” Can humans continue to inhabit land with the threat of such devastation? Yes, they are paying for the cost of carbon pollution with their health, their lives, and the loss of their world as they know it as they become climate refugees.
I thought the extreme weather event I experienced in 2012 was frightening when thunderstorms kept rolling across Duluth and northern Wisconsin for 2 days and 3 nights. The heavy rain, thunder and lightning just wouldn’t stop! Today I am happy to be land-locked.
Please contact the Philippine Red Cross, Team Rubicon, or UNICEF to donate and find out about other ways to help.
While this storm was pounding and destroying life on the islands of the Pacific, Minnesota leaders were meeting to discuss how to adapt to Minnesota’s changed and changing climate. How are we going to adapt and prepare for climate change? The average temperatures on earth continue to rise. 2013 will be the 37th consecutive year with a global temperature above the 20th century average. These rising temperatures allow the air to hold more water, More water in the air creates more of these extreme weather events. In Minnesota we have droughts alternating with floods.
Below is a must read op-ed by Mark Seely of the University of Minnesota about Minnesota’s changed climate.
http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/230905781.html Climate Changed, by Mark Seely