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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The fire maps show the locations of actively burning fires around the world on a monthly basis, based on observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite. The colors are based on a count of the number (not size) of fires observed within a 1,000-square-kilometer area. White pixels show the high end of the count —as many as 100 fires in a 1,000-square-kilometer area per day. Yellow pixels show as many as 10 fires, orange shows as many as 5 fires, and red areas as few as 1 fire per day. Via EO NASA

Temperatures have changed so much in Australia, that the country’s weather service had to increase the size of it’s thermometer. Australia, now in summer time, is experiencing a record heat wave that’s scorching the land, causing brush fires, habitat destruction, and loss of human life. Around 100 people have died this year from bush fires in Australia (a ‘bush fire’ about the same as a ‘wildfire’ in the U.S.).

So severe is the heat that the Bureau of Meteorology had to update its mapping system to accommodate very high temperatures. They’ve added two new colors to their range of their temperatures, purple and pink. Previously, the map was capped at black, which represented the highest temp at 50c. But temperatures are breaking records on a near daily basis, regularly exceeding those highs. (In fact, climate scientists have warned officials that Australia should prepare for even worse temperature swings.)

You can see the two added colors on the graph on the right of this map.

Read more: SMH.COM.AU
High School student convinces a Republican congressman to back new climate change law

Good read on how one young person can change an adult’s mind on protecting the environment.

Sara Ma knew from the start it would be an uphill battle to get her state leaders to start thinking about climate change.

The West High senior, along with other members of the iMatter youth campaign, had already marched to the state Capitol. Their petition to get state agencies to begin to account for climate change in their lawmaking had been rejected. And their education efforts before the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration had fallen flat.

In short, nothing happened. That’s not a surprise in a state where leaders have consistently rejected climate science, she reasoned. So, they regrouped.

"Being in Utah," Ma said, "we need to start smaller."

And, when the group began meeting with legislators about their proposal for a bill, they were pleased to find someone in the dominant GOP who was willing to work with them.

Rep. Kraig Powell, R-Heber City, has opened a bill file for legislation that would examine how climate change is expected to drive more and bigger wildfires and to begin planning for future wildfire fighting and suppression costs.

Salt Lake Tribune

U.S. runs out of funds to battle wildfires

"In the worst wildfire season on record, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service ran out of money to pay for firefighters, fire trucks and aircraft that dump retardant on monstrous flames.

So officials did about the only thing they could: take money from other forest management programs. But many of the programs were aimed at preventing giant fires in the first place, and raiding their budgets meant putting off the removal of dried brush and dead wood over vast stretches of land — the things that fuel eye-popping blazes, threatening property and lives.”

Read the rest at WaPo

Archaeological News: Wildfires Expose Protected Relics

Interesting affect of this year’s drought and wildfires.

archaeologicalnews:

This year’s fire season not only cleared out thousands of acres of vegetation, but has also exposed culturally and historically significant artifacts across south-central Idaho.

Public lands officials are now urging people not to disturb the relics.

“The chances are pretty high that people are going to be running across something,” said Suzanne Henrikson, archeologist with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s Burley field office. “Especially in burn areas, these relics have no vegetation to cover them.”

The BLM is charged with protecting these relics and is prohibited by federal law from pinpointing the exact location of those they do find. However, Henrikson said that running across a historically valuable artifact is possible across the entire 400,000-acre BLM Twin Falls District. Read more.

Fires Threaten to Wipe Out Bosnia's Rarest Plants

fyeaheasterneurope:

The forest fires that have hit Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the rest of the region, this summer, have not only damaged people’s property.

They have also destroyed thousands of trees and herbs, possibly posing an existential threat to some rare species.

Professor Sulejman Redzic, an ecology expert, told Balkan Insight that although it is hard to tell precisely what species have suffered most in recent days, many rare types of trees and herbs have clearly suffered badly in the fires.

Having in mind my knowledge of the flora and fauna in the river Neretva area and the sites around Konjic, Mostar and Mt Prenj, I would say that some endemic species may even have gone,” Redzic said.

Redzic said that some appear to grow only around Lake Boracko, on the hill near Konjic, half-way between Sarajevo and Mostar, where firemen and locals have been fighting a large fire since last week.

“The habitats of many animals have also been destroyed there and it could take years for them to recover and for many herbs to grow again,” Redzic explained. 

“The destruction of animal and plant habitats by fire will lead to a breakdown in communication even among those species that survived the blazes,” the ecologist added.

Via Balkan Insight

Marines called in to help fight wildfires.

Wildfires roast western states

At least 70 large fires were burning across 13 states west of the Mississippi River, according to the National Interagency Coordination Center. California had the most with 13, followed by Nevada with 12 and Idaho with 10, the center said.

The Marines joined the fight on Wednesday, with helicopter units from California joining U.S. Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard units from Colorado, Wyoming, North Carolina and California in fighting the fires by air. The Marine units will help fight fires around San Diego.

Via CNN

Active wildfires in the US.

Full story at NBC

Nebraska governor promises help with wildfires

kohenari:

Uh-oh! Here come the creeping tendrils of the big bad federal government that some conservative politicians love to hate until they desperately need its help:

Gov. Dave Heineman says he’s willing to seek additional state money from the Legislature if needed to help pay for firefighting in drought-parched Nebraska.

Heineman said Wednesday he wouldn’t be surprised if more money is required to reimburse local fire departments and other agencies for their expenses.

Wildfires sparked by dry lightning have scorched tens of thousands of acres in central and western Nebraska. State officials say they don’t yet know the exact cost, but Nebraska Emergency Management Agency assistant director Al Berndt estimates that the state has spent around $7.5 million so far.

Berndt says his agency started the year with about $10 million available for emergencies. He says state officials will start conducting damage assessments next week to see if Nebraska can qualify for federal aid.

roomthily:

Siberian wildfires at night (Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite, 8-3-2012)

via Earth Observatory

"Official estimates differ on the size of the area currently affected by burning, ranging from 18,000 to 23,000 hectares (70 to 90 square miles), according to news reports."

God hates Oklahoma.

nbcnews:

Grass fires, triple-digit temperatures tax Oklahoma

(Photo: Del City Fire Department)

Tinder-dry and wicked-hot Oklahoma battled at least six grass fires on Friday, including several just outside Oklahoma City — where the temperature reached 111 degrees Fahrenheit.

Two fires were burning in Cleveland County, part of Greater Oklahoma City, and residents in largely rural areas were ordered to evacuate.

Read the complete story.

(via nbcnews)

Colorado wildfire debris washed into rivers, causing the water to run black. The fires destroyed over 250 homes and 84,000 acres (84k acres = about 6 Manhattans).