THE ERA OF WEATHER EXTREMES IS UPON US: “Basically, all of your biggest storms in terms of big damage, like we just saw, in the West Coast [U.S.] states, including British Columbia, are from atmospheric river storms,” said Marty Ralph, a researcher and director at the University of California San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography (November 2021)
Note to Reader:
Although the term “atmospheric rivers” was coined more than two decades ago, 2021 marks the first year that atmospheric rivers is now part of everyday language. This is the consequence of extreme events that have battered British Columbia and the entire West Coast of North America. On November 18, 2021, CBC Radio published an article titled What are atmospheric rivers, and how are they affecting the B.C. floods?
“The term atmospheric river was first coined in 1998. As the rivers cross from the ocean to the land — particularly to mountainous regions like the B.C. coast — the vapour condenses into precipitation, sometimes dumping a month’s worth of rain or snow in a matter of days,” wrote Jonathan Ore.
“But the bigger and more intense they get, the more dangerous they can be, triggering landslides and flooding resulting in tens to hundreds of millions of dollars in damage or more.”
To Learn More:
To read the complete article, download a copy of What are atmospheric rivers, and how are they affecting the B.C. floods?
The Moment of Truth for Our Changing Climate
On January 23, 2017 the Vancouver Sun newspaper published an opinion piece co-authored by Kim Stephens, Michael Blackstock and Bob Sandford. The topic was Blue Ecology – interweaving the best threads of Indigenous and Western Science to make water-first decisions.
“Our climate is indeed changing. Flood, drought, fire, wind and cold – extreme events are becoming the norm. From a water-first perspective, we are at a moment of truth,” stated the co-authors in their opening paragraph.
“To make the right choices moving forward, we must understand how and where the rhythms of water are changing. Then we can apply ecosystem-based understanding to adapt our practices to suit a changing climate.”
“Adapting to changes in the water cycle requires that British Columbians re-think our relationship with nature. Over the generations, we have lost our way. The path to a water-resilient future starts with Western science acknowledging water for its central functional and spiritual roles in our world.”
To Learn More:
To read the entire Op-Ed, click on Opinion: Indigenous and Western science work together to make water-first decisions to download a PDF copy of the online version.