Weather

Severe Storms & Wildfires

Stronger winds, higher temperatures, and wildfires don’t have to be the norm.

Darylann Leonard

Our Take

With stronger winds, increased temperatures, and a rise in droughts and floods, climate change is affecting our weather patterns. From coastline to mountaintops, lowlands to highlands, all of us are experiencing this threat from climate change.

Educate Yourself

Benjamin Williamson

Quick Facts

80%

80% of the drought-induced economic damage and loss suffered by developing nations from 2005-2015 was related to livestock, crops and fisheries.[4]

400%

The percent increase in western US wildfire frequency since 1970[5]

2.25

$2.25 billions is U.S. Forest Service’s budget to deal with wildfires, which will grow to $2.95 billion by 2027.[6]

41

41 million is the number of US residents at risk from flooding along rivers and streams.[7]

10

10 trillion untreated gallons of stormwater that washes off paved surfaces and rooftops, through sewer systems, and into waterways creating pollution and replenishment problems.[8]

What is happening?

So how can both floods and droughts be caused by temperature increases? Because the earth has already warmed 1.1 oC, it is causing disruptions to the water cycle. Higher temperatures cause increased evaporation and rapid melting of sea ice and land ice. These increased temperatures are warming the Arctic more than the rest of the world resulting in a rapid loss of permafrost and ice cover in Greenland and the Arctic.

This increase in evaporation does two things: it dries out soils while lowering water levels in rivers and lakes. This causes droughts, but also more water vapor to accumulate in the air. So while some areas of the world experience droughts and arid conditions that put them at risk for wildfires, other parts of the world experience greater amounts of rainfall which washes away soils and saturates the ground causing flooding.

What are the effects?

In areas where droughts are occurring, the trees, grasses, and shrubs dry out becoming fuel for wildfires to spread further and faster. Combined with the stronger winds our changing climate is producing, it can push fires at speeds up to 14 miles per hour, which easily outpaces our ability to contain the fire and keep up. [1] Extended drought conditions from climate change also mean a longer burn season and less chance of heavy rainfall to help extinguish the fires. Predictions say that for every degree of warming, the area of land burned by fire will double.[2] These fires, although spreading wider and faster, are mostly preventable through proper human practice. Did you know that over 80% of wildfires are caused by people?[3]

In areas where we’re seeing increased flooding, the changes in weather patterns are actually stalling out storms so they move slower, allowing them to dump more rain or snow in one place for a longer period of time. Our storm drains and waterfronts can’t keep up with the amount of water falling and cause flooding. And flooding affects everything from safe travel to water quality and erosion.

These extremes disrupt the habitats for all living things. Whether affecting their food supply or the nutrients available for regrowth and survival, extreme weather has a dire effect on all living things. While droughts and floods have an extreme effect on land and how all living things can survive, these events can also have an effect on the economies of our communities as well.

Warmer temperatures will shutter ski resorts, dried-up rivers equal dried-up businesses beside them, and the agricultural impacts to our food supply affects not only our dinner tables, but our grocery stores and local shops, too.

How KCI is Slowing the Rise

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Myself

Life Saving Water

At the end of the day, only about .01% of the total water on earth is available for all of its living things. That’s not much considering how essential it is to life!

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My Family

Don’t Waste A Drop

Learn about your region and what types of things you can do to promote water conservation, wind protection, shade, and energy savings!

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My Community

Embrace The Green

By creating surfaces that water can go through (not pavement or concrete!), we can both conserve our groundwater and prevent flooding!

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How You Can Help

Even though 70% of the earth is covered with water, only 2.5% of that is fresh water. Then to take that a step further, of that 2.5% only 1% is available to humans. The rest is frozen in glaciers and permanent snow. At the end of the day, about .01% of the total water on earth is available for all of its living things. That’s not much considering how essential it is to life! Learn how to conserve the water you have access to. Our daily habits can conserve water everyday! Test your knowledge of how much water is consumed a day by taking this quiz and learn more about how you can make a difference by conserving water!

Test Your Water Sense!

25 Ways To Save Water

How Your Family Can Help

Create outdoor water efficiency through drought-tolerant landscape design and improved irrigation technologies in places with water scarcity. Create ways to collect rainwater (rain barrels) from your roof and gutters to water gardens and landscapes! Learn about your region and what types of things you can do to promote water conservation, wind protection, shade, and energy savings!

Energy Saver 101: Everything You Need To Know About Landscaping

7 Tips For Saving Water In Your Landscape

How Your Community Can Help

Create ways to keep the water cycle going to cool soils and absorb or keep water. By creating surfaces that water can go through (not pavement or concrete!), we can both conserve our groundwater and prevent flooding! It helps for both drought-prone areas and flood-prone areas. Planting more trees and designing better stormwater catchments/rain gardens in your community are all ways to restore the natural balance of water and keep our towns cooler. Check out ways innovative playgrounds can create both beauty and utility.”

How To Build A Better School Playground

Take it Further

Educate Us

Are you or your organization doing something to slow the rise of this cause that TCI should know about or feature? Let us know!

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