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Mother Nature, Pumped Up By Warmer Atmosphere, Swamps Alberta

2013/06/21
graphic: 350.org

photo: 350.org

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“If you think mitigated climate change is expensive, try unmitigated climate change.” Dr Richard Gammon

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The City of Calgary, home riding of Canada’s climate-change-denying, scientist-muzzling Prime Minister, ordered the evacuation of the entire downtown earlier today because of catastrophic flooding from the Bow and Elbow Rivers. Approximately 75,000 people were evacuated from their homes in Calgary as water levels rose sharply after torrential rainfalls related to an “upside-down” jet stream. The Weather Network put it this way:

An upside-down weather pattern took shape across western North America earlier in the week. By ‘upside-down’ we’re referring to a jet stream pattern that causes warmer temperatures to the north than the south. Dramatically, this was exemplified on Thursday (when the flooding began) with Fort Simpson in the Northwest Territories being the hottest place in all of Canada at 31 C. Meanwhile, Calgary only reached 17°C. Click here to read full article.

Hmmm – a broken jet stream, a melting Arctic, a modern-day “Mordor” in the tar sands, a planet full of politicians reluctant to act decisively on climate change, and increasingly frequent extreme weather events. Any connection, ya think?

Calgary’s mayor is warning that the worst flooding is yet to come.

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My sympathies are with the unfortunate people in Calgary and surrounding areas who are feeling the devastation of this flash flooding. This shouldn’t happen to anybody, any time.  As a climate activist, I hope that Canadians see this – finally – as a wake up call. There are millions of people around the world -  in Bangladesh, in the Philippines,  in Africa, and in South America – who have been feeling the devastating effects of climate change for years. The global poor have already been impacted by climate change, often losing their homes, their source of food and even their lives because of unstable weather events related to climate change, caused by carbon dioxide emissions to which they have contributed almost nothing.

“Unmuzzled” climate scientist Paul Beckwith from the University of Ottawa has this to say about the connection between extreme weather events and climate change:

Torrential rains in some regions are causing massive floods while in other locales record droughts are occurring with higher frequency and severity and areal extent around the globe. Global food production is being hit hard, leading to large price increases and political instability. Areas under drought are experiencing numerous massive forest fires of incredible ferocity. The statistics of extreme weather events has changed for the worst due to changes in the location, speed, and waviness of the jet streams which guide weather patterns and separate cold and dry northern air from warm and moist southern air. The jet streams have changed since the equator to north-pole temperature difference has decreased due to the huge temperature rise in the Arctic. The huge temperature rise in the Arctic is due to a collapse in the area of highly reflective snow and ice, which is caused by melting. The melting is from warming from the increase of greenhouse gases from fossil fuel burning. The Arctic sea ice and spring snow cover will vanish within a few years and the weather extremes will increase at least 10x.

Beckwith goes on to give this advice:

What can you do? Go talk to your politicians and friends about climate change and the need to slash fossil fuel emissions. Immediately. Cut and paste my comments above and post them on facebook, send them to newspapers, and educate yourself on the science behind all the above linkages. Leave my name on or take it off and plagiarise all you want, just get this knowledge out there…

Folks, unless we act together and demand better from our elected representatives, the worst is yet to come.

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source: I Heart Climate Scientists

source: I Heart Climate Scientists

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More links:

10 Signs Global Warming is Happening Now

Alberta Floods: Why is there so much rain?

Climate catastrophes Like Alberta Floods Have The Potential To Shatter Political Careers

Photogallery: Calgary Streets Before And After The Floods

3 Comments leave one →
  1. 2013/06/22 2:19 pm

    The British Met Office has launched a study to fully assess the role of Arctic sea ice loss and the warming Arctic waters on fueling the now far more powerful polar jet stream that manifests in the slow-moving Rossby waves that meander so deeply to the south and the north throughout the year.

    A report from Newfoundland & Labrador concludes that province will now be receiving once-a-century storms, twice a century; and once-in-fifty year weather events every twenty or even ten years.

    What we have yet to grasp but will probably be unfolding in front of us very soon is the sustained or repeated impact of these weather events. Some towns in Britain have concluded they just cannot withstand many more flooding events before the towns will have to be permanently abandoned.

    It’s like being in a boxing ring. What matters isn’t so much how well you can take a punch but how many punches you can absorb over the course of 12-rounds? Few fights end in the first round but a lot are called after three or four.

  2. 2013/06/22 7:27 pm

    Yes, excellent analogy. It makes such a mockery of the “we can’t afford to address climate change” chorus one hears all the time.

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  1. Another Week of GW News, June 23, 2013 – A Few Things Ill Considered

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