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Climate Change and Disasters — Attribution

Today, tomorrow and into the future.

There actually are climate attribution studies that can be done to make a direct connection to a specific disaster.

It has become popular to informally make the connection between disasters that are happening more recently to a specific climate disaster. It is easy to do when the disaster sets a record for rain, for flooding, for temperature records, etc.

It is obvious to the casual observer that something is going on in our physical and climate world.

Then there are projections for the future based on scientific studies and direct observation by the people being impacted. One such study is “With a fast burst of sea level rise, New Orleans’s outer defenses face a major test.” This coming from the Washington Post. Seven inches is nothing to sneeze at, and we are not talking about in the last hundred years or a projection. This is based on today’s measurements.

They do mention land subsidence in the story, but I think it is also a significant issue on areas of our coasts. It is actually happening in America’s heartland too where ground water is being drained at a pace too rapid for the aquifer to recharge.

The above story projects that a hurricane will land in Louisiana and all the work that was done to shore up the levees in New Orleans will be for naught. The maximum height that was established almost 25 years ago is not based on sea rise and diminishing barrier islands being washed away.

Stand by for more, bigger and longer-duration disasters.
Eric Holdeman is a contributing writer for Emergency Management magazine and is the former director of the King County, Wash., Office of Emergency Management.