On Georgia Barrier Islands Climate Change is on the Ground, not in the Hot Air
Wet Bulb Temperature (WBT ) is a measure of how much moisture or water vapor is present in the air. The difference between the dry bulb temperature (DBT ) and WBT determines how “dry” the air is. If DBT-WBT is large, then the air has lower relative humidity.
In the southeast United States, where my family and I live, wet-bulb temperatures now sometimes reach an already oppressive 29 or 30 degrees Celsius ( 87 degrees Fahrenheit); by the 2070s or 2080s, such weather could occur 25 to 40 days each year, say the researchers.
All that means when my granddaughter is around 50 she’s unlikely to be able to raise her family in much of Georgia. She may have to migrated to an environment more habitable by then. If you can believe it, migration is actually being considered as a solution for Americans to deal with climate change and the damage it is and will cause to our current habitats.
Above is a picture of the south end of Tybee Island GA. My wife and I have had the great joy of vacationing on Tybee with our family for the last twenty years. Our time on the island has been mostly on the north end where the Tybee Island lighthouse, pictured below, has provided direction for mariners to enter the Savannah river since 1732.
We’ve always stayed within walking distance to the lighthouse and the beach just below it. The north end of the island is also where the highway 80 causeway connects Tybee to the mainland. However, as the following picture shows, because of climate change caused sea-level rise, the causeway is often under water during high tide, completely isolating Tybee residents.
Jason Buelterman, mayor of Tybee Island, recently said “I can’t think of another island anywhere that is completely cut off from the mainland.” Mayor Buelterman continued “We had to have a helicopter on standby, we had the Coast Guard on alert in case we had a heart attack. The school’s shut down,”
As climate change continues to raise sea levels Tybee’s isolation will only get worse and it’s not just a barrier island, like Tybee, that’s experiencing the immediate affects of climate change. In a November report, Moody’s Investor Service — one of three main credit rating agencies — said;
“failing to prepare for climate change could mean downgraded credit for coastal cities like Savannah.”
Moody’s wrote, ”The interplay between an issuer’s exposure to climate shocks and its resilience to this vulnerability is an increasingly important part of our credit analysis, and one that will take on even greater significance as climate change continues,”
Following is a picture of Tybee Island residents returning home after the island was evacuated when hit by Tropical Storm Irma. Chatham County Emergency Management Director Dennis Jones said that storm surge from Tropical Storm Irma was strongest and most damaging on Tybee, where a number of homes were reported flooded by the time the storm moved past.
Dave Kyler, executive director of the Center for a Sustainable Coast, recently said,
“This is a pivotal turning-point in climate change awareness, affecting job creation, infrastructure upgrades such as roads, bridges, and sewer systems, as well as business development prospects and quality-of-life throughout the coastal U.S.”
A Republican, Mayor Buelterman said coastal leaders already deal with climate change.
“I went to a conference of local elected (Republicans and Democrats) in coastal areas a few years ago and we all agreed that we are being impacted and it is at the local level where the rubber meets the road, so we have to address and plan for it while others at higher levels of government just argue about it.”
My wife and I are betting on Mayor Buelterman and trusting in the good sense of Georgians and Americans to deal with the great risk all of us and especially our grand children face from the “here and now” affects of climate change.
Originally published at neutec.wordpress.com on August 8, 2018.