Today in Climate Change

From local ABC affiliate WLS in Chicago

January 9, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- Water levels on Lake Michigan are the lowest in recorded history. If the level continues to drop, the Chicago River could reverse itself and send untreated sewage into Lake Michigan.

"We've been monitoring since 1918 and this is the lowest Lake Michigan and Lake Huron have been," Roy Deda, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said. "There would be some potential water quality impact to the Great Lakes if we were to continue to lock vessels when the river is higher than the lake." [...]

Beyond water quality, the continued drought conditions and low water levels are having a financial impact the entire great lakes system.

"There is certainly an economic impact to shippers who cannot carry as much cargo in their ships," Deda said. [...]

The Natural Resources Defense Council said officials need to rethink the entire water system due to climate change.

And The Guardian has an amazing story, accompanied by amazing photos, of an Australian family who had no other choice than to run for water to escape fire tornadoes.

"We saw tornadoes of fire just coming across towards us and the next thing we knew everything was on fire, everywhere all around us," Tim Holmes told Australia's ABC News. "We lost three houses and by that time I had sent Tammy … with the children to get down to the jetty because there was no other escape. We couldn't get off. [...]

The blazes are the result of a record-breaking heatwave and strong winds. Since last week they have destroyed thousands of hectares of land and numerous properties. Among them are the pottery, craft gallery and B&B where Holmes, born in Wales, had lived on Tasmania's picturesque eastern coast since 1988. Remarkably, nobody has been killed. [...]

Australia had its hottest day on record on Monday with a nationwide average of 40.33C (104.59 F), narrowly breaking a 1972 record of 40.17C (104.31 F). Tuesday was the third hottest day at 40.11C (104.2F). Four of Australia's hottest 10 days on record have been in 2013.

"There's little doubt that this is a very, very extreme heatwave event," said David Jones, manager of climate monitoring and prediction at the Australia's Bureau of Meteorology.

"If you look at its extent, its duration, its intensity, it is arguably the most significant in Australia's history."

While debating whether to lift the ban on Uranium mining in the state of Virginia this week, State Senator Dick Saslaw said he wasn't concerned about what impact it may have on the environment 100 years from now or 10,000 years from now because he won't be around to see it. But as we're seeing quite clearly now, the prospect of climate change caused by pollutants is not some far-off imagined future or distance problem -- it's happening right now.

  • Jone_of_Snark

    I’ve been convinced for a while now (and this just clinches it) that climate-change deniers can’t be bothered because of exactly what Saslaw (R-Dick) says … they won’t be around to see it or be blamed for denying it.

    B-b-but beware of what raising The Debt Ceiling will do to your grandchildren!! Fire tornadoes? Remain unconcerned, but remember to blame the not-climate-change-damage on environmentalists. Rinse and repeat.

  • JimmyAbra

    Neil DeGrasse Tyson wins (Ah-gain) his bet (on Real Time) with that car dude (Lutz) that people will not be in danger of rising waters…

  • D_C_Wilson

    But I had to scrape ice off my windshield yesterday, checkmate warmists!

  • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

    Yes, this is what the deniers have brought us to. And it cannot be reversed.

    It is January 10, and in Michigan we have had a few light snowfalls amounting to no more than a few inches in total, almost all of which has melted. On Saturday, the temperature is expected to be near 60F.

    Also, pictures of fire tornados here.

    • Draxiar

      Like you in Michigan, Nicole, we’re forcasted to reach near 60 degrees here in Mass. Personally I find it disgusting to see temps over 40 in winter…but that’s me.

      There are days I get all pissed off and cracked about the climate changing. I wonder how it is that people can be so obtuse about the environment. I often make the point that even if people don’t believe that humans are affecting the climate wouldn’t it be better to use cleaner technology to live in a cleaner world? Aren’t wind turbines better than smoke stacks? So often that point is ignored for “cheap coal!” “or “wind turbines don’t fit on cars!” and so on.

      Other days I take the approach of, “Yeah? Oh your in a drought and crops are dying? The Mississippi is drying out? Australia is in flames? New Jersey is in ruins? Yeah? No shit you denying assholes. This the economy of the climate: cause and effect. Reap what you sow. Fuck off.”

      I swear I can’t think of a single issue in the world more important than climate change.

      • http://www.politicalruminations.com/ nicole

        I feel the same way, Drax. I wish it were otherwise.