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How Climate Change Affects The Bay Area

Updated: Apr 13, 2022 15:06
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Written By Deborah

In just a few short days, San Francisco has gone from the hottest weather we’ve seen in over a year to damp and rainy. While variety is the spice of life, this is a troubling sign of things to come. The early stages of climate change is upon us, and we’re woefully unprepared.

This past winter was one of the driest on record, and it’s likely to get worse as politicians continue to place the needs of the few over the many

Over the past year, despite some relief, California is largely back in a drought. This past winter was one of the driest on record, and it’s likely to get worse as politicians continue to place the needs of the few over the many. While the rain on Monday may make some of us optimistic, it still doesn’t change the fact that the water supply is much lower than where is should be.

So why? After all these years we’ve been in a drought, Climate change—and global warming, specifically—impacts drought in two basic ways: Rising temperatures generally make wet regions wetter and dry regions drier, NRDC explains. All this time we’ve been trying to put the weight on ourselves, to try to resolve the drought by reserving water; yet we (as regular citizens) were only minimally responsible for the drought. The California drought and many other droughts were caused by climate change. And because of the droughts, we had dry and hot dangerous summers.

Summers in the San Francisco Bay Area are usually mild until the highs hit in August and September, enough for wildfires. Which now seem to occur  every year. It’s always the same story: a wildfire in every corner of California. It’s becoming normal at this point. Climate is the main contributor to this increase. Although, 84% of wildfires are man-made, climate change worsens the control of the fires. As I have been researching the causes of fires, I stumbled upon a range of articles that both explain, fires were either man-made or caused by climate change(specifically California fires) due to dry weather in California.

As a result of climate change, fires have been difficult to stop and spread more quickly. As fires continue to happen, the fires contribute to the drought, creating a never ending cycle of dry land in addition to the low vegetation and dry soil. Drought, combined with warming temperatures, can result in decreased snowpack and streamflow, increased evaporative demand, dry soils, and large-scale tree deaths, which results in increased … for large wildfires. Each time there is a forest fire, it causes soil to dry, contributing and making the drought worse. While, the drought and dry soil contribute vulnerability to forest fires.  

In some ways we’re going to be hurt by too little water and in others by too much.

The Bay Area is predicted to have sea levels rise, not in the next 70 years, but in the next 30 years. Don’t confuse droughts with sea levels, one is due to dry soil and rivers drying. However, we can’t consume ocean water, even if it were filtered, because it’s harmful for the environment. Not only is it harmful for the environment, but it’s also expensive. Continuing my point, that sea levels are rising, the sea levels are rising because of climate change and global warming. The sea-levels would rise to cover most of California, so California isn’t expected to sink, but it will drown.  According to KQED, “Low-lying communities around the lip of the San Francisco Bay, like East Palo Alto on the peninsula, are already vulnerable to nuisance flooding from rain, king tides and contaminated groundwater”

This will greatly harm communities like East Palo Alto and others that are not only environmentally vulnerable, but socioeconomically.

It’s great to drive a Prius or a Tesla and say we care about the environment, but we have to get serious.

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1 Comment

  1. Aaron Goodman
    April 27, 2022 at 7:45 pm — Reply , Climate Action Network, and other groups pushing for environmental policy change is a great way to push and help established organizations push the perimeter on climate adaptation and investment and changes.

    We have too much traffic in SF currently and toll lanes wont solve the mess… So demanding infrastructural investment, alternative solutions, and getting back that plastic bag ban is key… too much has slid due to COVID-19 better clamp it down quick!

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