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Cooked Like We're In A Roaster

by Jason Ray Morton 22 days ago in Climate
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Megadroughts, massive and killer heatwaves, and losses of food and water supplies should be considered an emergency.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

The bleached-looking rock toward the bottom is a sign of where the water once reached before the effects of historic drought, aptly called Megadrought, began to deplete the water from Lake Mead. The fresh water in the Lake Mead reservoir supplies water and electrical power that affects 40 million people. What if Lake Mead were to dry completely, forever?

According to the United States Bureau of Reclamation, which manages power and water in the Western United States, Lake Mead is the largest reservoir in the United States. Lake Mead is a flooded canyon. The 229-square-mile lake snakes for 115 miles through the deserts of Arizona and Nevada. It seems like a never-ending body of water, a sea-like body of grand proportions that supplies water and energy to millions of homes.

“We’re 150 feet from 25 million Americans losing access to Colorado River Water.”

— John Entsminger, Southern Nevada Water Authority (Via USA Today)

If Lake Mead dried up permanently, there would be a loss of water to 25 million people.

The Hoover Dam Wouldn’t Be Supplying Power

Image by Brigitte Werner from Pixabay

Lake Mead also happens to be a key component of one of the largest hydroelectric power plants in the United States. Hoover Dam normally can generate enough electricity to deliver to one million people in Arizona, Nevada, and southern California.

Water from the reservoir travels through the dam’s 17 turbines to produce power, but with less water, there’s less flowing. The dam is already operating at a reduced capacity and producing only 2/3rds the power it normally does. If the water at the Hoover Dam drops to 950 feet, the older turbines will likely falter. When the water hits below 895 feet, the Hoover Dam will no longer produce hydroelectric power or move water downstream.

At the point Lake Mead hits “dead pool” and the Hoover Dam powers down, Arizona, Nevada, and Los Angeles would be hit the hardest. The effects wouldn’t stop there. The dam at Glen Canyon, a similarly sized Dam on the Colorado River, could fail and then the cost of electricity would be astronomical. If they both went down in the summer, the entire grid could be disrupted.

Around The World

Image by JPierre Desvigne from Pixabay

In Africa, where many areas look like this image, there have been four failed rainy seasons and the drought and famine there are at a level not seen in 40 or more years. There, the March to May season this year has been the driest since they started recording. Livelihoods have been devastated, there have been sharp increases in food, water, and nutrition, and things look to get worse.

The heat has already exacerbated the existing water deficits as air temperatures have reached record highs. The record high temperatures are expected to stick with the people of East Africa through the dry season ending in September. In Africa, it’s not a question of price, it’s a question of survival for many and with the threat of starvation looming after the failed rainy season, millions are at risk.

Rome — The worst drought to hit Italy in decades has dropped the water in the Tiber River. Parched conditions have been exacerbated by the deadly heat wave that recently gripped much of Europe. There were unprecedented temperatures in the UK and that extreme weather pattern stretched to Athens, Greece.

As temperatures have eased in the last few days, fire crews are trying to get a handle on blazes charring Greece, Italy, and Spain. Much like in the United States, firefighters in Europe have to contend with lower water supplies. Water is so scarce in Europe that just like at Lake Powell and Lake Mead, a barge sunk in World War II has emerged from the depths of the Po River.

Image by Alexander Antropov from Pixabay

Some areas are burning, so the image is not a joke. While some areas burn, some areas flood, and others feel the wrath of increasingly powerful storms, everybody is left to wonder what is to become of the problem. Global warming and the climate emergency is the most real thing we will have to deal with as a species.

Carbon emissions end up in the atmosphere and don’t escape the planet. Carbon gasses have been blanketing heat a little at a time, slowly cooking the planet. We’ve seen small, incremental rises in temperatures, on a global scale. People question the small numbers. I think I once saw Donald Trump make light of the one or two degrees the planet has risen in a hundred years. It’s that kind of thinking that’s why he was so unpopular.

Now that I’m older and smarter, I realize that we need to be rapidly addressing climate change and the causes of man-made climate change before we don’t have a livable planet. The problem with addressing climate change issues and putting an end to greenhouse gasses is ultimately about money.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Saving The World Requires Two Things

One of the key components to mitigating greenhouse gases and man’s effect on the climate is willingness. Many people are willing, but many more aren’t. It’s either a case of disbelief, dependence on the governments of Earth to fix the issues, or an unwillingness to cooperate with the goal because of politics.

How it became a politicized issue comes down to the second thing needed to make a difference, to save the world. Money!

We could educate the world on what we need to change, what we’ve done wrong, and what needs to be done better. There would still be a percentage that won’t change, won’t believe the truth, or won’t let go of political biases because this party or that party is the ones pushing for the change. If the fifty percent that might make the important changes had the money, it’s easier to imagine they would than that they wouldn’t.

Much like the government eluding to billions for cities and states to be better prepared in the case of flooding, or to be prepared during heatwaves and catastrophic storms, it’s going to take money to make all of the changes we as people need to make.

Final Thoughts

Wales, Vatican City, Spain, South Korea, Portugal, New Zealand, Mauritius, Malta, Maldives, Japan, Italy, Ireland, France, Canada, Austria, and Bangladesh all have one thing in common. Their leaders have all declared a climate emergency.

The United States has still not declared a climate emergency, keeping the full powers of the presidency at bay, for some mysterious reason. If the loss of drinkable water and electricity isn’t an emergency, then how about millions of starving people, rivers slowing supplies, and intense heatwaves so hot that a runway in Europe melted?

What’s it going to take for it to be an EMERGENCY? This is something we should be asking our fearless leader.


About the author

Jason Ray Morton

I have always enjoyed writing and exploring new ideas, new beliefs, and the dreams that rattle around inside my head. I have enjoyed the current state of science, human progress, fantasy and existence and write about them when I can.

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