Ron Fink: Questioning Assumptions in Assessing the Vulnerability of Climate Change | Opinions

Santa Barbara County is in the process of developing what is known as a “Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment”. How much they will pay to find out that weather changes have had a dramatic impact on the population since people started recording these events is unknown.

One of the assumptions in this study is that “as greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere increase and global temperatures continue to rise, the primary climate stressors are likely to become more severe at the local level, such as climate change. B. Changes in air temperature, precipitation, sea level “. Rise and acidification of the oceans. “

When I lived in the San Fernando Valley as a kid in the 1950s, summer temperatures were typically over 100 degrees for several weeks. The winters were cooler and one winter it snowed ankle deep in Sylmar (northeast of Los Angeles City).

Of course the snow was gone by noon, but most of the fruit in the orange groves that once littered the valley froze to death that year.

According to the National Weather Service, the historic high temperature in Burbank in 1973 was 108; in Palmdale and Lancaster there were 113 in 1961; and in Woodland Hills in 1973 there were 109.

Since facts cannot be changed, it looks like the recorded high temperatures have not changed significantly in over 50 years.

During this time I can remember several large bushfires. One in November 1961 called the Bel Air Fire was located in the hills that separated the greater Los Angeles area from the San Fernando Valley.

484 exclusive homes of the rich and famous were destroyed, and the ensuing winter rains flooded most of the canyon roads. And in June 1990, the Painted Cave Fire on the south coast burned 427 buildings, killing 2 people.

Major fires followed by floods occurred before the global warming hype began and are still going on today.

Another section of the assessment assumes that the most vulnerable communities are at the forefront of people “who experience the effects of climate change earlier and / or to a disproportionate extent than others in the district without legal personality”.

These communities are defined as fixed income seniors, middle / low income families, chronically unemployed, people with disabilities, etc.

Try to sell this find to many families in Montecito who not only lost loved ones and homes, but the property they once owned was simply wiped out of the landscape in the floods following the Thomas Fire. Most of these families certainly did not fit into the so-called “frontline community” status.

Earthquakes, fires and floods do not affect people based on their gender, employment status, ethnic origin, health history, age or economic status. they simply injure or kill everyone in their path and destroy their property.

In this 304-page document, the authors try to make the case that the temperature rises and then guess what changes might occur in a few years. I find it hard to accept these predictions because if you follow the daily weather reports from meteorologists, they have a hard time accurately predicting the next week’s climate outlook.

However, they are very good at reporting what happened yesterday.

The way the climate is measured has changed dramatically over the past few decades. Prior to 1970, an observer read instruments at thousands of regional weather recording stations to create manually maintained databases. They then verbally reported their observations to a regional weather center, and weather forecasts were made for the next few days.

Landsat 9 was recently launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base; This is the latest in a series of instruments of this type that NASA claims are used to measure “the thermal infrared radiation or heat (brightness temperature) of the earth’s surfaces”.

As tools have improved, predicting next week’s climate outlook with full accuracy is a hit-and-miss even to this day. So you can see that any comparison to previous data collected by analog meters read by the human eye to that from thermal imaging satellites is like comparing a digital photo with a crayon drawing of the same subject.

On the plus side, the rating indicates that many areas of the parish are at risk from fire, flooding, and landslides. The same areas are also prone to earthquakes.

The connection is that earthquakes cannot be accurately predicted or prevented, as can weather changes that have occurred in different time periods over millennia of Earth’s history.

The only consequence associated with weather changes is that major fires and floods occur on a regular basis, so the “climate change vulnerability assessment” is a necessary contingency planning exercise.

And preventive measures like vegetation and flood canal management, regional evacuation plans, and updating building codes to prevent the spread of fires and facilitate evacuation during these disasters are essential.

But changing the weather, like earthquake prevention, is not a viable prevention tool, and the claim that one population group is more affected than another is simply not supported by history.

– Ron Fink, based in Lompoc since 1975, retired from the aerospace industry. He has been pursuing Lompoc politics since 1992 and retired from the public service after serving on various Lompoc commissions for 23 years. The opinions expressed are his own.

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