Monday, July 9, 2012

Ominous Forecast: Madison, WI Becomes New Wichita, KS

In light of the record heat gripping Wisconsin and much of the nation - - and with a number of counties suffering repeated alerts about unhealthy, ozone-polluted air- - I thought I'd check the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources web pages for information and discussion of these matters.

I did subscribe to the air quality e-newsletter, but It's hard to "stay informed" when the last issue came out seven months ago, with "winter tips."

Air quality and health news and subscriptions

Air News

There’s always a lot happening to maintain and improve the air quality in Wisconsin. So stay informed by reading Air News - the DNR Air Management Program's e-newsletter - and learning about new rules, events, and actions that are being taken to reduce air pollution and help us all breathe a little easier.
  • January 4, 2012 - FET seminars set for early February 2012; energy consumption and air quality tips for winter
This reflects the DNR's urgency-free management style on such things, to wit:

I'd noted a few weeks ago that the DNR had deleted most of the content from its primary web page about climate change, (way too much info about the Doyle administration's initiatives), and left there only one paragraph and link to a joint DNR - - UW-Madison collaboration, the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts.

Some sobering stuff there.

Using the Adaptation button, I found this:
Two terms dominate the discussion of climate change and how to deal with it.
One is mitigation – taking action to curb emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases in an effort to reduce global warming.
The other is adaptation, which involves identifying and preparing for the potential impacts of climate change likely to occur even as we work to mitigate it.

The Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts focuses on adaptation, and its Working Groups are the key components in those efforts. Each Working Group focuses on a particular issue, activity, ecosystem or geographic area to identify potential vulnerabilities and impacts, and to develop recommendations to increase resilience in the face of change.
Green House
A few possible examples of adaptive measures could include redesigning stormwater management systems to handle increasing volumes of stormwater; planting species of trees more suited for longer, warmer growing seasons; planting vegetation to provide more shade for coldwater trout streams; and developing heat emergency action plans to assist vulnerable urban populations during heat waves.
Some adaptation efforts will be reactive, handling situations as they arise. But WICCI strives to be pro-active, anticipating challenges and preparing for them ahead of time. Effective planning and preparation could help save wildlife, property, money and even lives.

Visit the adaptation science page to learn more about how these topics are addressed.
I sure would have liked to have heard from the DNR these past few weeks about "cutting greenhouse emissions" and "developing heat emergency action plans to assist vulnerable urban populations during heat waves."

The collaborative site also has a new interactive climate predictive tool that can show you what kind of climate your Wisconsin city could have by 2046.

For Milwaukee, the average of all the scientific models predicts a climate like West Virginia's.

Madison's climate change models predict climates that range from North Central Virginia to South Central Kansas.

Wichita, Kansas, Hello! We're talking 683 miles to the southwest.

And is a lot hotter, windier and drier than Madison's climate.

The linked site also offers a short audio and slide presentation that lays out Wisconsin climate change effects already underway - - temperatures that are already up a degree statewide (with measurable impacts), rainfall that arrives more often as two-inch storms, less snowfall - - and predictions of much greater annual temperature increases of 4-9 degrees.


Anonymous said...

This weather is extreme for those under the heat. As far as global climate goes, not that remarkable.

Where were you last year when it felt like Northern Wisconsin all summer. That's more than 300 miles away!

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous 1,

Wisconsin average state wide temperature 1895 to resent:

See the large build up of red (above average) at the end? Just a tiny blue patch representing below average...

Anonymous said...

Heat waves are getting a lot more common than mild periods. You're right though, that as far as global climate, it's not that remarkable. Other regions are getting hit far worse with the consequences of global warming.

Bill Kurtz said...

How appropriate that Madison would get the climate of Wichita, home town of the Koch brothers.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous @12:01am:

I'll agree that this is weather, not climate, when RWNJ's stop saying that the idea of a warming global climate is disproven by snowy weather in winter in some parts of the USA.

Is that reasonable?

Sara B Jones said...

Im in Wichita KS and its 111 degrees; can't even enjoy the summer. Summer is the new winter around here. What are we going to be; Death Valley. I grew up in Oregon, going back soon. Need to get back to living. This is hell, no joke.

James Rowen said...

Thanks for that report. I turned it into a separate posting: