riparian rap

Climate change is here now, and we caused it.

Our rivers are in for some changes, and it’s hard to see how a lot of flood return interval relationships, for example, won’t go out the window soon, especially if we continue to ignore our effect on climate. And river restoration might mean adapting and anticipating this change, rather than returning streams to a prior state in another climate.

This week’s EOS (subscription required) has noted the release of an alarming report by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP).

From a New York Times article on the report:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Jane Lubchenco called the new report “a game-changer.”

“I think much of the foot-dragging in addressing climate change is reflective of the perception that climate change is way down the road in the future, and it only affects remote parts of the planet,” she said. “This report demonstrates that climate change is happening now, in our own backyards, and it affects the things that people care about. The dialogue is changing.”

From EOS:

These impacts include rising temperatures and sea level, increases in heavy downpours, changing growing seasons, more frequent and intense extreme weather including floods and droughts, and the continued rapid decline in Arctic sea ice. The report notes that “global average temperature has risen by about 1.5ºF since 1900. By 2100, it is projected to rise another 2–11.5ºF. Increases at the lower end of this range are more likely if global heat-trapping gas emissions are cut substantially. If emissions continue to rise at or near current rates, temperature increases are more likely to be near the upper end of
the range.”

Photo is of some flood prone property just down the road from my house.