Warmer Air, Heavier Rain, More Flooding

David Leonhardt writes in the NY Times about flooding in Grafton, Ill., a small town along the Mississippi River. Because of a bridge closure, the only other way for the vil­lage’s 1,000-plus res­i­dents is to the north via tens of miles of wind­ing, poorly paved coun­try roads that are barely wide enough to al­low a ve­hi­cle go­ing in each di­rec­tion,” The Wall Street Journal’s Erin Ailworth wrote recently. “A 20-minute drive to a gro­cery store now takes a few hours…”

It rained “heavily” all day long in East Hampton NY, on Thursday June 13th. One inch of rainfall according to https://www.localconditions.com/weather-east-hampton-new-york/11937/past.php The winds were out of the NE at about 10-20 mph. Nothing unusual, right?

I decided to take a drive down Gerard Drive. It is arguably one of the most sensitive areas to flooding and East Hampton Town has just completed an expensive fortification of the road to prevent ‘noreaster’ storms from crashing over the road in to Accabonac bay.

The road was passable with large puddles. About 50% of the private drive-ways were flooded.

Then I visited the cross section of Springs Fireplace Rd. and Gardiners Avenue, just by Springs Auto (Edgar’s place). This place usually gets flooded with every storm, at least in recent memory. No surprise:

This kind of flooding was rare 30-40 years ago when I first moved to East Hampton. Perhaps only with a hurricane? Now it seems more common.

To test this I tabulated historic data going back to 2000: a) total precipitation in inches for 6 months (January to June), b) average temperatures measured daily for the same 6 months (January to June). The linear trendlines computed by Excel over the 20 year period, show a slight increase of about 1 degree in average temperature and an increase of about 1 inch of rain per 6 months. Online source of data.

Inches of rain for 6 month period (blue) and average temperature for same 6 month period (red). Measurements are from Westerly State Airport, Rhode Island, about 15 miles north of Montauk.

Warmer air carries more humidity and this leads to heavier rainfall and flooding. It is happening locally and it is a clear and present danger.

Clean energy is one major way we can fight this trend.

From Kate Mueth on June 25th after a few hours of rain fall:

Myth: No Wind in the Summer ?

Facts: Wind energy is an indirect form of solar energy.  Wind energy is stronger and more reliable offshore here because wind energy is affected by friction and the rotation of the Earth (Coriolis). Friction near the surface of land and ocean is called “surface roughness.”  Surface roughness includes buildings, topography, forests, and on the ocean surface: waves. “Therefore the Offshore Wind Industry is gradually becoming an important part of the global energy mix. In some regions of the world (e.g. the northeast region of the United States ), offshore wind is the most promising renewable energy resource.” Fundamentals of Ocean Renewable Energy: Generating Electricity from the Sea,Simon Neill M Reza Hashemi, eBook ISBN: 9780128104491, Imprint : Academic Press Published Date: 12th June 2018.


But is there wind in the summer? Opponents to renewable energy say “No”. However a new study at Rutgers University dispels that myth.
“The Rutgers study, published last September, found that not only do sea breezes travel three times farther offshore than onshore, but that the breezes are stronger during upwelling conditions, most common in the summer and fall, which is when water in deeper levels of the ocean rise to the surface. Thanks to the study, developers now know which months to expect the greatest potential wind energy.” 

https://www.philly.com/news/new-jersey/rutgers-helps-offshore-wind-firms-predict-coastal-breezes-20190127.html


https://njmonthly.com/articles/towns-schools/steve-adubato-only-in-nj/offshore-wind-farms-nj/?fbclid=IwAR1e4lFZoyeqsDQ00XUQgh8Adwtk2BcAJ9g_Iit9R-STUyRW-hurHwAYPyw#.XK3s1J6VLw4.facebook

From: Cate Rogers

The Case for Wind Energy

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Wind off the coast of Eastern Long Island is among the most consistent in America.
Energy powered by the SOUTH FORK WIND FARM’S 15 wind turbines 35 miles off Montauk will not be seen and will provide electricity to 70,000 households.

DO WE NEED MORE POWER?
Yes. We risk frequent brown outs during the peak summer season. Our energy grid cannot keep up with increasing demand. If power is not provided by wind turbines, use of dirty fossil fuels will continue to rise.

WHAT WILL THIS COST ME?
The average household monthly bill will go up by only about $1.50. The good news: because wind is renewable and free, the cost will be stabilized unlike the volatile cost of fossil fuels. This is a small short term cost for a long term solution.

WILL THIS HURT OUR FISHERMEN?
After listening to commercial fishermen, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management made sure that wind turbines and cable will avoid Cox’s Ledge, a valuable commercial fishing area. In fact, existing wind turbines off Block Island attract marine life to them, imitating an artificial reef.

THE NATIONAL & GLOBAL CASE FOR WIND ENERGY:


Scientific evidence continues to mount as to the urgency of reducing carbon emissions before it is too late:

SPECIES EXTINCTION
Due to Climate Change, one million species will face extinction and humans will suffer as a result unless action is taken. (United Nations report). The Audubon Society supports the use of wind power and reports the greatest threat to birdlife is Global Climate Change.

THE WORLD’S FISHERIES
are undergoing tremendous stress as the marine environment is altered by Climate Change. 93% of global warming heat is absorbed into our oceans, dramatically reducing marine life. Acidification of our surface waters is spelling extinction for some fish and shellfish. Eel grass forms the base of a highly productive marine food web. (NOAA). Locally, our commercial fisheries that depend on eel grass for spawning and protection, are threatened.

RISING SEA LEVELS
Caused by melting polar ice sheets, threaten coastal communities around the world — including our own.

VIOLENT WEATHER EVENTS
Climate Change is producing stronger storms and more intense hurricanes that are wreaking havoc on communities with high public and personal costs, including loss of life. Our towns are on the front line.

PUBLIC HEALTH
Warmer winters are dramatically increasing infectious disease-carrying insects as they
migrate north due to higher temperatures, causing untold costs and hardship. Locally, the
rise in Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases is alarming.

By Cate Rogers