Sunday, July 19, 2009

Midwest Flooding, Global Warming, Floodplain (Mis)Management, and National Legislation

National Wildlife Federation: The United States is getting more heavy storms and major floods these days, detailed in a new report from the National Wildlife Federation. “Global warming is partly to blame for these heavy rainfall events,” said Dr. Amanda Staudt, climate scientist, National Wildlife Federation. “Warmer air simply can hold more moisture, so heavier precipitation is expected in the years to come.”

To explain the bigger picture and provide recommendations for how to cope with projected changes and how to avoid the worst impacts of global warming, National Wildlife Federation’s mini-report Increased Flooding Risk: Global Warming’s Wake-Up Call for Riverfront Communities details:

…In the Midwest and Northeast, big storms that historically would only be seen once every 20 years are projected to happen as much as every 4 to 6 years by the end of the 21st century. At the same time, shifts in snowfall patterns, the onset of spring, and river-ice melting may all exacerbate flooding risks. In the Pacific Northwest, snow melt discharge occurs 5 to 20 days earlier than it did 50 years ago, and it could be an additional 30 to 40 days earlier by the end of the 21st century if global warming pollution is not curbed….


Danielle said...

Thanks for spreading this important information!

Doug said...

The argument about why it's flooding, where it's flooding, and how long it will be flooding is academic. The facts, however, are clear, flooding is steadily becoming more frequent and more severe.

If you live where it has flooded before, it will flood again. Major flood control projects cannot keep up with the rate of increase. From a practical standpoint emergency response must be both more robust and more widespread. The only widely used form of emergency flood protection is the use of sandbags. They are not as effective as necessary, are tremendously resource intensive, take too long to erect and add to an already unsustainable hazardous solid waste disposal problem while contributing to an increasing local health problem.

New technology and engineered products are now available and should be a significant part of any flood damage mitigation planning process. You can see one such system at: