Because there’s little snow in the mountains, this snowboarder is angry about the weather
this season, and especially the nice weather in January and so far in February. The issue is larger than that problem of the privileged not being able to play in the snow as they’d like. I’m not alone in being concerned about water supply and the accompanying issue of food production in the North State. Probably into the future almonds will not grow in the valley; they need a certain number of cool days. In the near future apples may not grow well on the Ridge due to changing climate.
That the weather is warmer than average is in the news. There’s record heat being reported where we live, year after year. The heat is not more than expected by climate scientists following various climate models. If you’re so inclined try using the interactive tool to explore California’s Climate Change Research at http://cal-adapt.org/ and see what’s expected for your zip code. The data for predictions is amazingly refined. The models all predict the same trends for our part of the world: more heat, less snowpack, less precipitation, and more extremes in the weather patterns.
What’s less well understood is what effects the melting Arctic will have. Uncertainties remain in the models, but it’s fair to say that there’s nowhere that will be unaffected by melting polar ice caps. We can try to remain blissfully ignorant or highly informed. We can become, more or less, concerned or angry. We can resolve to remain positive, the American way; or like the British maintain a stiff upper lip and live the motto, “keep calm and carry on”. We can focus on surviving another day, another week, another year, another decade, as we do. What can we do anyway?
It’s risky buying a ski pass. I may not do that again, given the projections for shorter winters and less precipitation. I just hoped for one more fairly normal year, and I still am “thinking snow”. I want to support the ski industry and the people who depend on it. We could yet get a couple blizzards in the mountains and not need to declare another drought.
Hope is not enough. I’m in the market for a cistern to catch what rain that falls so I can use it when the rain stops to offset the probable increase in water prices. I want more certainty that I’ll have the water to continue my gardening efforts.
What can the community do to adapt? Our fire safe council needs support. They are doing good work. There is much being done and much more to do to become more fire resistant. The Town and County can facilitate more programs toward fire safety.
Asking ourselves what we can do as individuals and as a community is one to keep posing. It is now law that municipalities must respond to climate change - stay tuned for more information.
In addressing the question, “What can we do to adapt?” I’m hopeful that we can make ourselves more comfortable going into a too warm, too dry future.
Warmer than Expected was printed in the Paradise Post on Feb. 7, 2018.
Robin Huffman lived in Paradise, California from 1989 until she evacuated from the Camp Fire on Nov. 8, 2018.