Friday, June 20, 2008

climate change

Thanks to a lot of work done by Dr. Harold Brooks and collaborators, the U.S. climate change science programs report included information on severe convective storms. There was enough in the report to show the valuable work done by Brooks and collaborators. What was missing was what occurred this year with regard to severe storms:
A. Multiple EF5 tornados, and
B. Extreme Flooding brought about by severe storms

One interesting point is that the reanalysis data doesnt show changes in severe storm environments concurrent with changes in tornado reports. Either the problem truly requires a mesoscale depiction to identify the environment [reanalysis is too coarse] or the parameter relationships do not describe the potential for severe storms. This latter part means that more variables need to be considered or at least scaled, or a distributions approach needs to be taken.

While models are incapable of producing the heavy rainfall associated with severe convective storms, I have not seen a method to estimate the potential heavy rainfall associated with a severe storm environment. Obviously this would be of great interest since the US is especially vulnerable to flood (more agricultural production for food, fuel, and livestock) and drought more by economic considerations rather than true vulnerability (poor placement of cities, homes, overdevelopment in areas prone to flood). The Floods of 08 (June) and 93 (July) redefined record flooding.

20 river crest records broken in 93 were in the st louis area. Iowa set a number of records, and the recent levee breaks in and around St Louis may make breaking records tough, but no doubt this a record year for flooding.

Policy changes are needed to keep people and property sustainable. We are at more risk. Not because of increased weather, but because our society is more dependent on the status quo. More development means more risk. More risk leads to more money being spent to keep current. fewer people can handle that risk because they dont have the money. A lot of people take the chance. And a lot of people lost this year (some may have been misled into not getting flood insurance). I am thinking now that climate change may have more impact on HOW we do business, HOW we treat our planet and each other, than on actually changing the climate.

No doubt the climate is changing. The question is: how much will we?