The first annual National Adaptation Forum was held in Denver this past April. Organizers expected around 150 attendees, but over 500 signed-up. They had to shut down the registration desk and turn people away (I had to beg to get in!).
The speaker presentations are now online for you to download. Great information (and contacts if you’re job searching) covering a variety of adaptation topics - cities, ecosystems, adaptation law, conservation, animal protection, forests, sea level rise, Native American issues - tons of case studies, examples, and science of adaptation! The presentations are hosted by California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Climate Science Division - get them while they last. You can get PPTs by heavies Vicki Arroyo, Susanne Moser, Roger Pulwarty, Gwen Shaughnessy and many other climate adaptation specialists. Great stuff!
The historic flooding throughout central Europe continues, as the Elbe River has broken through several dikes in northern Germany, and the crest of the swollen Danube River has reached southern Hungary, and threatens Serbia.
Parts of Austria and the Czech Republic are now in recovery mode, as thousands of residents return home to recover what they can. Gathered here are images from the past several days of those affected by these continuing floods.
First photo: A Super Puma [helicopter] of the German Federal Police Bundespolizei carries sandbags to fix a broken dam built to contain the swollen Elbe River during floods near the village of Fischbeck, on June 10, 2013. (Reuters/Tobias Schwarz)
Second photo: Budapest. The flooded River Danube, with a city view of the parliament building in downtown Budapest, on June 10, 2013. The Danube peaked at 891 cm, 31 cm higher than the record levels of 2006. (Attila Kisbenedek/AFP/Getty Images) Via
Images of the Black Forest fire near Colorado Springs show how devastating a wildfire can be. Why are more homes being built in these kinds of areas?
What a great exploration of how our communities are built. Click through and press “listen” if you can. The answers are surprising, especially if you’re new to urban planning, disaster management, and land use development.
Click through for the Denver Post’s coverage of the Black Forest Fire, the worst in the state’s history. The cause of the fire is unknown, but the severity is traced to persistent drought, massive tree deaths by bark beetles, dry soils, and budget cuts.
Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes in a region of eastern Germany where the Elbe river has flooded and burst through a dam, while swollen Danube was approaching Budapest where soldiers and volunteers are building flood walls, officials said Sunday.
Existing flood walls and barriers are holding up, though.
Will predicted sea level rise wipe out future coastal property values? A local Australian government implemented an adaptation plan to help protect thousands of homes from sea level rise. But, a handful of vocal residents believe the plan will devalue their homes, since there will be few buyers in the future who would want property in a hazardous area.
Residents fear Lake Macquarie City Council’s controversial actions on the risks of sea level rise will wipe more than $1 billion off the value of properties.
But some believe the loss could be worse, with homes worthless because they cannot be sold. Some say their properties already won’t sell and insurance premiums are skyrocketing – problems they blame on the council’s sea level rise measures.
But the council says changes in property values are a result of the global financial crisis, housing supply and interest rates, not council predictions of sea or lake level rise.
In a statement the council also said sea and lake level predictions in 2050 or 2100 played no role in the calculation of insurance premiums.
However, Marks Point resident Barbara Davis, who is leading an action group on the matter, said the council was ‘‘destroying people’s lives’’.
The council had placed notations relating to flood and sea level rise on section149 property certificates of about 10,000 properties, and residents say the move has devalued many properties.
With global warming, the glaciers are melting. Once stretching to the edge of town, they now end high in the mountains. Moreover, their greenish glacial water is forming lakes. In summer, when the melting accelerates, floodwaters threaten the area. But the avalanche witnessed by Mr. Bomio shows that the shrinking of the glaciers removes a kind of buttress supporting parts of the mountains, menacing the region with rock slides.
Grindelwald stands as a stark example of what is happening these days to Switzerland’s glaciers, and there are more than a hundred, large and small. As the Lower Grindelwald Glacier shrank, its ice no longer buttressed the east wall of the Eiger, a 13,025-foot mountain that is part of the ring south of Grindelwald. Moreover, the warming reduces the effect of permafrost that once acted as a sort of glue binding together the mass of the mountains. On that day in 2006, a chunk of the Eiger amounting to about 900,000 cubic yards fell from the east face, causing the cloud of rock dust that startled Mr. Bomio and his friends.
Since 1997, Ruth Meier has run the Hotel Gletscherschlucht (the name means glacier gorge), with 6 rooms and 18 beds, at a point where water from the melting lower glacier runs out of a steep and narrow gorge. Well into the 20th century, the glacier extended clear through the gorge, which is about three-fifths of a mile long, and until about World War I, ice blocks were carved out of it for use in cooling in restaurants and kitchens as far afield as Paris. Where her hotel stands a field kitchen once fed the workmen who hacked the ice.
But now a large lake of melted glacial water has formed above the gorge. To avoid potential flooding that would threaten the village below, Ms. Meier said, a $15 million tunnel, more than a mile long, was completed in 2010 to channel excess water when the lake swells in the summer.
Between 2004 to 2010, Indonesia was struck by a series of extreme natural disasters. The first, and most deadly, was the Asian tsunami in December 2004. Triggered by a massive 9.1 magnitude earthquake, the tsunami swept away homes, communities and infrastructure, leaving over 200,000 dead or missing. In March 2005, another earthquake levelled the nearby island of Nias, destroying nearly one third of its buildings and killing close to 1,000 people. Central Java was next: in May 2006, it was struck by an earthquake that killed nearly 6,000. Another quake and a tsunami killed hundreds more the following July, followed by deadly several volcanic eruptions of Mount Merapi in 2010.
Because it is located in a geologically active geological area, Indonesia is prone to natural disasters. But today the country is better prepared. Why? Because of the lessons it learned in responding to a series of disasters that pummeled it between 2004 and 2010.
Getting Ready for Future Disasters
Disaster Risk Reduction, or DRR, was embedded in Indonesian government policy through a new a new body, the National Agency for Disaster Management (BNPB). Set up in 2008 the BNPB is responsible for disaster preparedness and response at both national and regional levels. Among officials, this means developing national and regional disaster management plans and sharing data. To ordinary people, it means teaching people- especially schoolchildren- how to respond when disasters strike. It also means constructing homes, buildings and infrastructure so they are earthquake-resistant. These steps alone will save thousands of lives in the future.
After a cleanup effort that cost tens of millions of dollars, visitors from the Rockaways to the Hamptons will be able to enjoy miles of seashores that have been groomed and cleaned up by volunteers and work crews. In still others, sunbathers may have to squeeze their towels a little closer on beaches shrunken in some places by half its normal size by the effects of erosion.
“People are going to rewrite the formula for the beach,” says Andrew Field, co-owner of the popular Rockaway Taco restaurant near Queens’ Rockaway Beach, a 7-mile stretch of sand off the Atlantic Ocean that was perhaps the city’s hardest-hit beachfront.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will work all summer to restore 3.6 million cubic yards of sand in a stretch of beach where, at high tide, what last summer was prime real estate for sunbathing is now part of the ocean. […] after spending more than $270 million in repair costs, all 14 miles of New York City’s beaches will be open for the Memorial Day weekend, including Coney Island, Brighton and Manhattan Beaches in Brooklyn; Orchard Beach in the Bronx; Midland, Wolfe’s Pond, Cedar Grove and South Beaches in Staten Island; and, of course, Rockaway Beach in Queens.
Early warning, communication, training, and “safe rooms” combined to save thousands of lives from the Okla. monster tornado. It is a very clear example of how cities have designed adaptation systems to respond to local weather conditions.
How could so many have survived the Okla. tornado?
Viewers glued to TV following Monday’s tornado that hit here with the destructive force of an atomic bomb very likely expected to wake up Tuesday to a death and injury toll in the thousands.
How could anyone have survived the apocalyptic destruction of a worst-of-the-worst EF5 category storm? Miraculously, most did, despite an official warning coming just 16 minutes before the twister cut a 17-mile war-zone-like path through this city of 56,000.
Local, state and federal officials credit luck, happenstance, timing, faith, heroics, preparation and the seasoned experience that comes with living in the heart of Tornado Alley for the relatively low victim count.
“If they say there’s a chance of severe tornadoes, people take it really seriously,” said Tyler Porter, who lives in Oklahoma City, 10 miles north of Moore. “They pretty much know when it’s time to take cover.”