Last Saturday, the capital of California broke its record for several days without rain, and the next day, Sacramento recorded a historical record of rainfall: these extreme variations occur frequently in the western United States and forecast what the rest of the climate will be. From the country.
“When you carry a canary in a coal mine the air is poisonous, because watch the canary die?” It’s like the California Canary, “said Justin Mankin, a professor at the University of Dormouth in the United States. For this researcher, California is the equivalent of the most populous US state and the fifth largest economy in the world, which is “an important indicator of the ability of a community to respond to this type of climate stress.”
From fire to flood
Significant variations have always been part of California’s climate, but have emphasized the phenomenon of global warming. “We see very severe dry seasons with the risk of fire, drought and heat waves, which are stopped by landslides, landslides and floods due to this very heavy rainfall,” he said. Mankin.
Take a look at last quarter’s data to understand the impact of this tree weather: the first emergency calls from water conservation officials, and then the wave of deaths associated with exceptional heat before putting out more than 10,000km of fires this year. California. Roads cut off by heavy rains over the past weekend have been followed by thunderstorms from wildfire-related emissions.
These variations have grown steadily over the past decade, which is not surprising, says Marty Ralph, director of the Center for the Study of Extreme Meteorological Events in Western America. This is “consistent with what climate forecasts indicate,” says a San Diego-based researcher.
“Californians don’t adapt properly”
Can California cope with such events without damage? “I don’t really know. What I can say from the weather events of the last few months is that Californians are not very suited to the current weather, let alone expect,” Mankin said.
“Collecting enough water during short rainy seasons can be very difficult for the current infrastructure,” says Marty Ralph. The key to him lies in his ability to adapt well to severe rainy events and the adaptation of canals and dams. “If there is a reliable forecasting system, water can be released before storms to absorb floodwaters,” he explains.
“Avoid making it worse”
Heavy rains have certainly put an end to the deep season, but not enough to tackle the prolonged drought that is raging in the west. “There will be more drought next week. You owe $ 1,000 and earn $ 200, you owe $ 800, ”said Justin Mankin.
As for California, climate change is not possible, it is already a fact, he recalled at an important conference to combat global warming as world leaders prepare to assemble for COP26 in Glasgow on Sunday.
“If we control our (greenhouse gas) emissions – this should be our immediate priority – we can prevent it from getting worse. That doesn’t stop it, “said the researcher. “The best scientific predictions available are that the climate is changing. He has changed, and he will continue to do so,” says Marty Ralph. Globally, this is a blink of an eye, ”he says.
(Essential / AFP)
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