|Blog page for the Climate Adaptation SharePoint site.
While long-term trendsare showing a decline in Great Lakes ice, this year’s frigid temperatures have helped the Great Lakes achieve near-record ice cover. By mid-February the Great Lakes were 88% covered in ice (according to
NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory), and could be well on their way to reaching the record 94%. Since the region is the fastest warming in the U.S., and Great Lakes waters are also on the warming trend, get out and enjoy the frozen lakes and nature’s coldest art forms now, as the ice cover may not be so spectacular in years to come.
Photo Credit: MJI Photos/Flickr
Since I am beginning to get excited that I am seeing signs of spring, we will continue on the farming trend.
With climate change happening around us, and more extreme weather events on the rise, farmers in Vermont are starting to think ahead in planning crops. In recent years, some farms have experienced devastating flooding. Those farmers are exploring planting crops that are more tolerant of wetter conditions. And even though many farmers are tied to their day to day operations, more farmers need to start thinking of these longer term solutions.
Photo credit: sgetgood/Flickr
I have known for years that you can eat - what most of us consider - weeds like kudzu and dandelions. Some people actually eat them on a regular basis. Plants that most of us think of as weeds may become the new norm over time. Some crops we rely on as regular staples will likely not flourish in a drier, hotter climate. Relying on “weeds” that are more native to the region may become the new norm. For example,
this article points out that there are over 20,000 legumes that go uncultivated. Other crops have been used throughout history, but have been abandoned or neglected over time. Now is the time with local food and slow food movements to start introducing these new foods.
Photo credit: EVPeters/Flickr
Check out this interactive
extreme weather map from our partners at Esri. With this map you can track the weather and click on icons to view images and videos. The map also provides information on various watches, warnings, and advisories, open FEMA shelters, and weather reports.
Photo credit: Esri
The U.S. Department of Agriculture will create
seven regional hubs across the nation geared to help farmers and rural communities understand and adapt to climate change and extreme weather. Part of the role the hubs will play will be to put the information already being collected into a format the public will understand.
Photo credit: USDA
With so many of us coffee drinkers gearing up to switch to tea at some point in our lives (view previous post,
My Favorite Things), hearing about climate change threatening tea plants is a bit startling.
Tea, a $2 billion business in the U.S., might be under threat from climate change. A group of scientists from Tuft University are studying the effects of climate change on tea crops in China to better understand how the cops might be impacted. They will specifically be studying the chemical changes in the leaves of the plants under various environmental conditions to better understand how it impacts the quality of the product.
One of the scientists predicts that tea companies would probably start using more blends if certain crops are too distressed, so we may not see the end of tea any time soon. Otherwise a few of us may need to put our heads together and invent a new hot beverage of choice.
Photo credit: paveldobrovsky/Flickr
If your high school-aged child is interested in the community resilience and climate adaptation field, you may want to have them visit the University of Connecticut Avery Point campus. UCONN just launched a new Institute for Community Resilience and Climate Adaptation - a research center designed to help communities better prepare for climate change. The institute will help communities turn scientific research into local action to reduce risks of extreme weather and climate change.
With the 2014 Winter Olympics just getting kicked off, I can’t help but think how much the future of the winter Olympics will be changing as global temperatures rise. The IPCC anticipates a significant reduction in ice and snow cover, which would hinder the outdoor activities that take place during the winter Olympics. Weather has always been a challenge in the winter Olympics, including inclement weather, which often impacts construction, outdoor ceremonies, and the actual competition. As technology has improved over the decades since the beginning of the winter Olympics, various mitigation and adaptation strategies have improved. With more modern technology, the development of refrigerated tracks and snow making machines have made some events possible in uncooperative weather conditions. However, even man-made snow requires cold temperatures to function as snow. Within the next century many of the past winter Olympic host cities may not be suitable to host the winter Olympics in the future.
Photo credit: Atos International/Flickr
It seems like at least one time each winter I see Facebook plastered with sarcastic comments about these uncharacteristic cold snaps being attributed to to global warming. And each year I am compelled to post a blog explaining how these cold snaps don’t disprove climate change. As I gazed through my window at the South Carolina winter wonderland - just two weeks after the attack of the polar vortex -I decided it was time yet again to help explain this whole climate change thing.
Climate takes into account long term trends, not just one or two days that are out of the ordinary. Scientists also look at global trends, not just what’s happening in your back yard. In case you missed it, the arctic vortex article I wrote about two weeks ago explains that the arctic vortex was actually caused by the arctic warming. This caused the jet stream to behave erratically, pushing the cold, arctic blast much farther south. Some folks seem to forget that unseasonably warm weather in the southeast sandwiched that arctic vortex.
So hopefully you got a chance to enjoy the rare southeastern snow (or in my case, sleet), because four days later it was 70 degrees in Charleston, SC.
My poor frozen palm tree
This year’s One Prize, an annual “science and design” competition, focused on storm-proofing cities in a non-conventional way. Ideas included using shipping containers to build artificial reefs to protect from storm surge, enhancing existing crumbling dam systems with man-made waste, building artificial barrier islands, and an inflatable storm surge wall. These ideas would protect vulnerable cities and communities from storm surge and flooding during major storms.