Climate Adaptation

CLIMATE ADAPTATION

I want to punch climate change in the face. A blog about the interactions between the built environment, people, and nature.


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This is Ulyana Horodyskyj, a PhD geologist student we funded through USAID’s Climber Scientist program, which I happen to co-manage. She works in the high mountain regions of Nepal and Peru, and measures how fast glaciers melt. Here she shows how icicles bend under pressure. You many have heard of Ulyana earlier this year when her cameras and equipment were stolen in the Himalayas.

darksilenceinsuburbia:

Matt Jones. Lakes of Gokyo, Khumbu valley, Nepal.

I’m headed here in a few weeks. Also Seti river valley near Pokhara to visit some climate scientists whose contract I’m managing.

One of the adaptation projects I'm working on: High Mountain Glacial Watershed Program

I’m headed to Nepal this November to meet our climate scientists. Click through to check out the program’s work. The scientists are installing remote sensing equipment to monitor glacial melt, conducting LiDAR (GPR) surveys, and helping train sherpas and others on how to deal climate impacts in the Himalayas. We’re also co-funding a trash and sanitation clean up on Everest. Fun stuff. A bit worried I won’t be in shape to make the basecamp climbs…

In Swiss Alps, Glacial Melting Unglues Mountains
Drop in U.S. underground water levels has accelerated - USGS

Where is all the groundwater going?

Pontifical Academy of Sciences report on climate change (pdf)

The Vatican’s Academy of Sciences published a report titled, “Fate of Mountain Glaciers in the Anthropocene." It has a special focus on climate change impacts on human’s main source of fresh drinking water supplies - mountain glaciers.

I found it interesting that the report begins with a defense of climate science and a response to common misconceptions. I think this is the first time I’ve seen this, and I’ve read thousands of climate reports over the years.

It also has three sharp, concise recommendations on how to help deal with the impacts - adaptation is one of them.

Climate change could hit Berkshires in Massachusetts and Connecticut economy hard

The Berkshires are a small mountain chain and community located in western Mass and Connecticut (near me!). It’s widely known for its picturesque New Englandy towns with lots of arts, music, hiking, skiing, hunting, fishing, apple picking, and and nice things.

The local paper, called the Berkshire Eagle, posted this really well written piece on how the economy will be impacted by climate change. The locals have not been responding well to the article, but I admire it for being as straightforward as you can get.

“ The pika is toast. More specifically, the American pika is running out of places to live, and global climate change appears to be the primary cause of its decline. This tiny rabbit-like species has the unfortunate trait of being remarkably well-adapted to the cold, highaltitude, montane habitat of the Sierra Nevada and Rocky Mountain ranges in the North American Great Basin.

The pika’s problem is that as global climate change causes surface temperatures to rise, the altitude below which pikas cannot find suitable conditions for survival also is rising.

The pika’s recent decline and gloomy future call to mind the protective capacity of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), often referred to as the “pit bull” of environmental laws. The United States Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), which administers the ESA for terrestrial and freshwater species, has identified over 1250 animal and plant species in the United States for protection and has exercised its regulatory authority throughout the nation to fulfill the statute’s goal of conserving imperiled species.

The pika’s recent decline and gloomy future call to mind the protective capacity of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), often referred to as the “pit bull” of environmental laws. The United States Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS), which administers the ESA for terrestrial and freshwater species, has identified over 1250 animal and plant species in the United States for protection and has exercised its regulatory authority throughout the nation to fulfill the statute’s goal of conserving imperiled species. ”

—    Law professor JB Ruhl in Climate Change and the Endangered Species Act

Video of a meteorite exploding over the southern Ural Mountains, Russia.

Bangkok Post reports property damage, no casualties.

"A meteorite exploded above the Chelyabinsk region (of the Urals). The shock wave blew out windows in several places," but no meteor fragments hit the ground, an emergencies ministry spokesman told the Interfax news agency.

"According to the preliminary information, four people were injured by flying glass," the ministry added.

An agency report spoke of several injuries.

Witnesses cited by news agencies spoke of hearing loud explosions which led to panic among residents.

fyeaheasterneurope:

mypubliclands:

Eagle Lake is located  is 5100 feet above sea level in north eastern California about 16 miles north of Susanville in Lassen County. It is the second largest natural freshwater lake wholly in California. Having no natural surface outlet, Eagle Lake is a closed basin lake with its water levels fluctuating with variations of inflow.

Water surface areas have fluctuated between 16,000 to 29,000 acres with a present area of 26,000 acres. The Lake and its immediate drainage are located in a high semi-arid plateau characterized by basaltic lava flows, volcanoes, and cinder cones.

Some of the lava flows are fairly recent, having occurred not more than a few centuries ago. The higher western portion of the drainage basin consists mainly of volcanic mountains that form the east flank of the Cascade Range.  

Eagle Lake is well known for its fish and wildlife. Around its shores are located one of the last colonies of nesting osprey and the largest nesting colony of western and eared grebes in the western United States. It is the home of the Eagle Lake Trout which are native only to Eagle Lake.

I’m a big fan of the Bureau of Land Management's tumblr, my public lands. Check it out if you can. It’s a Federal Agency’s tumblr!

A slide to analyze volcano debris flows? OK! Video shows how scientists in Oregon analyze how volcanic, avalanche, and other debris flows tumble down mountains. The goal is to identify and forecast hazards to protect property and save lives. Especially important in the coming years as mountains hold less snow pack and glaciers continue to melt.

skeptv:

Volcano Debris Flows

Debris flows are hazardous flows of rock, sediment and water that surge down mountain slopes and into adjacent valleys. Hydrologist Richard Iverson describes the nature of debris-flow research and explains how debris flow experiments are conducted at the USGS Debris Flow Flume, west of Eugene, Oregon. Spectacular debris flow footage, recorded by Franck Lavigne of the Universite Paris, makes clear the destructive power of these flows. Via USGS.