Thursday, February 29, 2024

Expected and Unexpected Climate Changes in California

 I wish I still had electronic access to my old blogger stuff. But the internet moves on, and so I don't. However I definitely do remember pontificating about the changes in weather in California that were expected.

About 1980 / 81, while I was still at UCLA, we discussed and investigated how climate change would affect California. The conclusion we had then was that rainfall would increase - we were right. We also thought snow would decrease and it appears that we were wrong there.

I pointed out that Southern California was not built for this. The infrastructure was built to move rainwater to the ocean as quickly as possible to avoid flooding and use the snowmelt from the San Gabriel Mountains for water. Only now is California changing its infrastructure direction to do this.

This is the problem with climate change. First, people did not listen then - and still do not really work to mitigate the effects. We knew what was going to happen 40 years ago and could have prevented the worse outcomes, but short-term costs overrode considerations. Our parents or grandparents (of those younger than I) chose to ignore the problems, save money on taxes, and let future generations pay for it. that bill is due now, and it is VASTLY more expensive than it should be because we ignored the problem for so long.

Second, we denigrate the scientists who try to project into the future and provide direction. We listen to experts when we want, i.e. "Will it rain tomorrow, I have a concert?" But we ignore experts when we don't like the answer, cigarettes, traffic, pollution, etc. Each of these issues had to overpower our responses before we addressed them.

If this reads like "I told you so," then I have done a bad job explaining. This is more of a plea to listen and act quickly going forward. 

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