Seismically ‘Cool Pavements’ Underwater

October 9, 2014

castleGround fog and chilly this early Thursday on California’s north coast. Supposedly, today will mirror Wednesday — fog and then sunny.
Routine sounding, but a walk along the waves breaking on Clam Beach yesterday afternoon was simply delightful.
Strong sun and a calming breeze, which my youngest daughter and I found to be also quite soothing.

Although a little beach stroll won’t reveal sea-level rise, the process is happening nonetheless.
Just this week, a new study of the US eastern seaboard (including the Gulf): In 15 years’ time, most of the communities analyzed are projected to experience at least 24 floods per year in exposed areas, the equivalent of flooding twice a month.
And in that same space, sea water will be ‘…deeper, reach further inland, last longer and threaten life and property.’

(Illustration: Irvine Peacock’s ‘Castle of Illusions,‘ found here).

Here on the Redwood Coast, we’re at least looking at the problem with the Humboldt Bay Conservation District’s ‘Sea Level Rise Adaptation Planning Project,’ mainly because our area is located within shifting earth:

On Humboldt Bay, sea level rise is greater because we live in a seismically active area and the ground has been dropping in elevation.
Consequently, sea level in the Bay may have increased by more than 18 inches over the past century.
The National Research Council has projected that sea level may rise by as much as 55 to 65 inches in California by 2100.
Communities around Humboldt Bay will need to prepare for the effects of sea-level rise, which could severely impact critical infrastructure such as our wastewater treatment plants, Highway 101 corridor, our port, and residential communities, businesses, and coastal agricultural lands.

Everything, in other words.

California, too, statewide has reacted at least with some actual bluster. As of many, many things coming from out here on the Left Coast, we’re sometimes a step ahead — even trying to get a handle on climate change.
Via yesterday’s USAToday:

California has completed the highest number of goals to prepare for climate change, followed by Massachusetts and New York, according to a first-of-its-kind 50-state tracking tool unveiled Thursday.

California has been a leader, achieving 48 or 14 percent of its 345 self-described climate goals, says the new online tool developed by the Georgetown Climate Center, a nonpartisan research group based at Georgetown University Law School.
It passed, for example, a “cool pavements” bill in 2012 to encourage lighter-colored paving materials that reduce the heat-island effect in urban areas .
Nationwide, 14 states have finalized climate adaptation plans, all of which are coastal except for Colorado and Pennsylvania.
Another nine, also mostly coastal, have some kind of planning underway.
The rest have no formal plans, but some like Arizona have sizable local efforts.

The process way-too-slow. Retreat further inland the actual action most-likely to be taken by those coastal areas.
Yet even with California’s high score on overall work to prepare for climate change, an incident this week displays a great chink in the thread — the crash Tuesday of a Cal Fire S-2T air water tanker, which had been dumping retardant on a forest fire at Yosemite National Park; the pilot was killed, and subsequently, the entire 22-aircraft fleet was grounded.
In a region of many, many high-voltage forest fires, and in the way-middle of a drought, California has a ridiculously-ancient air support system. Cal Fire’s ST-2, manufactured by Grumman Aerospace as the S-2E/G (a carrier-based anti-submarine warfare aircraft), were built between 1958 and 1975.
From the Christian Science Monitor:

It was one of 23 such planes owned by Cal Fire, which are considered the workhorses of the US firefighting fleet.
Used in the early stages of a fire, they are valued for their small size and maneuverability, and are able to return for refills many times a day.
But the planes, which have been retrofitted with turbine engines and fitted with bins that can carry 1,200 gallons of retardant, have come under scrutiny in recent years because they are 50 years old – in some cases, older.
“In my opinion, we should not be converting Korean War and older aircraft designed to haul torpedoes across the water, into planes that need to fly low and into steep canyons,” says Bill Gabbart, a wildfire expert who runs the website Wildfire Today.
“It would cost money, but we need to design an entire plane from the wheels up, for flying into these canyons.”

Experts say such crashes are very rare.
There have been 35 air-tanker-related deaths in the past century, according to a study by Mitch Tobin for United States Wildland Fire Aviation.
There have been 56 helicopter and 59 other aviation related deaths, according to the study.
That’s contrasted with 441 deaths on the ground.
The state with the most wildland firefighter deaths over the past century was California, with 334 deaths, followed by Idaho, with 127.

Forest fires, and sea level rise — sort of musical, huh, as in ‘cool’ sidewalks.

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