Climate Change: Fire and Storm

I like to avoid doomsaying; I find that negativity can lead us to a state of learned helplessness, where by focusing on what’s bad, it becomes difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. In an industry like solar energy, positivity reigns: after all, we’re learning to harvest the near unlimited energy of the sun in a sustainable way that will, long-term, make energy cheaper, more accessible, more fault resistant and more independent. All of these are incredibly positive notions, almost utopian, aside from the fact that utopia means “no place” and solar energy is very real. That said, with the uptick of crisis level environmental effects, I feel it’s right to address the negative impacts of climate change, largely spurred by oil and gas based power.

You’ve undoubtedly heard of the wildfires that struck California this year; the deadliest in the history of the state. Unsurprisingly, the number of severe wildfires is expected to increase as global warming continues; you may have seen the uptick in fires in Canada yourself, smoke billowing from Saskatchewan and BC. The reason? As the weather gets hotter, forests dry more quickly. Fire spreads rapidly in dry forested areas, because there’s not as much moisture to impede its movement from tree to tree. That means the hotter the world gets, the drier we can expect forests to get, resulting in more and more fires. Our firefighting services will need to adjust to this eventuality.

Storms are also worsening in this period of warming, for two important reasons. First, the conditions to create a tropical storm require warm ocean waters; warm water evaporates, feeding tropical storms and hurricanes. The second reason is that as the earth continues to warm, we can expect melting in the ice caps; that means there will be less of a temperature difference between the poles and the Equator. This difference in temperature creates a difference in atmospheric pressure, which affects wind. Less difference in pressure means less wind, so storms will move more slowly. That might seem like a good thing at first glance; after all, with less winds driving the storm, the coasts will have more time to prepare! The problem, however, is found once the storm reaches coastal cities; instead of hammering them with wind and rain and moving on, the storm will sit over the city for a prolonged period of time. Battering winds lasting for hours will begin to shake the foundations of buildings, and the deluge of rain will cause flash flooding. Again, as global warming increases, we can expect more of this type of phenomenon.

Combating global warming, and thus fighting back against these type of horrifying phenomenon, is just one of the reasons why we offer Winnipeg solar solutions. We can all do our part to reduce the devastating effects of natural disasters on communities around the world; best of all, you can reduce your energy bill and foster energy independence while you’re at it.