Tuesday, January 18, 2011

ARkStorm: Changing Califonia Forever

I dwell in Doom & Gloom.
In 1861-62 two thirds of the Central Valley of California under water. Sacramento was completely flooded and the Capitol was moved to San Francisco for the duration. The USGS is as worried about a repeat storm like that as they are of a San Andreas earthquake. Both are certainties not too far in the future. The storm would cost three times the earthquake.

Australia and Brazil are experiencing storms of this level today.
What would the ARkStrorm damage look like. "In many cases flooding overwhelms the state’s flood-protection system, which is typically designed to resist 100- to 200-year runoffs. The Central Valley experiences hypothetical flooding 300 miles long and 20 or more miles wide. Serious flooding also occurs in Orange County, Los Angeles County, San Diego, the San Francisco Bay area, and other coastal communities. Windspeeds in some places reach 125 miles per hour, hurricane-force winds. Across wider areas of the state, winds reach 60 miles per hour. Hundreds of landslides damage roads, highways, and homes.

Property damage exceeds $300 billion, most from flooding. Demand surge (an increase in labor rates and other repair costs after major natural disasters) could increase property losses by 20 percent. Agricultural losses and other costs to repair lifelines, dewater (drain) flooded islands, and repair damage from landslides, brings the total direct property loss to nearly $400 billion, of which $20 to $30 billion would be recoverable through public and commercial insurance. Power, water, sewer, and other lifelines experience damage that takes weeks or months to restore. Flooding evacuation could involve 1.5 million residents in the inland region and delta counties. Business interruption costs reach $325 billion in addition to the $400 property repair costs, meaning that an ARkStorm could cost on the order of $725 billion, which is nearly 3 times the loss deemed to be realistic by the ShakeOut authors for a severe southern California earthquake, an event with roughly the same annual occurrence probability."

I have wandered the Sacramento River delta and the San Francisco Bay area years ago and marveled at the tenuous hold the area had on stability. Since that time 2 million more people have built homes and businesses in the that valley alone. Climate change causing this? Nope, climate change will just make it come sooner and be worse.

If you are a geographer, planner, or dooms day dude read the full report here.


BB-Idaho said...

Folks seem to resist the term 'Global Warming' or
'Anthropogenic Climate Change'. Perhaps 'Global
Weirding' coined by Ian Morris would be more acceptable?

drlobojo said...

Global Weirding is pretty close to what it will seem to be alright. We will finally know that it has actually arrived when we finally hear, "Hell, that's never happened before!"