When we see the video of polar bears pacing on a shrinking ice flow, we feel both empathy for the poor brutes and relief that the warming poles and their grisly realities are a long way from us.
I have been guilty of the smug feeling that, here in Wisconsin, I am far from the poles, far from the coasts. No rising shorelines. Hardly any scorching heat waves. Lots of ground water and few cities to suck it up.
When I covered local government meetings for the Chicago Tribune, what always packed the house was a mob swelling with indignation over a NIMBY (not in MY back yard).
Well Global Climate Change is looming over everyone’s back yard. Here in idyllic Wisconsin, the toll is being recorded and predictions are being formulated. Thanks to WICCI (Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts) this state is one of the first to look closely at what is coming and how our farmers, businesses, public health officials, resource managers, municipalities and the rest of us can brace for the impact.
This was the topic of the cover story I wrote for this week’s Isthmus, Madison’s cutting edge newspaper that keeps our town in the know. I’m very proud of this one. Please check it out.
It starts out:
Remember June 2008?
Madison recorded almost 11 inches of rain that month, easily breaking the previous June record set way back in 1869. Flood damage to homes, businesses, roads, bridges and water treatment plants in southern Wisconsin totaled $766 million, making it the most costly natural disaster in Wisconsin history.
This drenching came as no surprise to Steve Vavrus, a senior scientist at the UW-Madison Center for Climatic Research and a member of the WICCI Climate Working Group. “That was not a rogue thunderstorm,” he says confidently. “We will be seeing more of these in the future.”
In fact, we already have.
Read a little more the editor’s page
Categories: Climate Change