Author Topic: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?  (Read 6865 times)

newgirl

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Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« on: January 15, 2018, 12:38:43 PM »
Something I've been mulling over for a while...

Are there any particular areas of the US that strike you as being better positioned than others to cope with nearer-term (like next 50-100 years) effects of climate change?

Obviously climate change will impact different areas of the country differently - from droughts/wildfires to hurricanes. We live in MN, and one of the reasons I've been reluctant to explore other places to live (that are more low-cost and have milder winters) is that, in the near term, I feel like MN is fairly well positioned to absorb some of the negative effects of climate change - we have access to a lot of water here, we are not fire prone, there is a decent variety of agriculture and things that can be grown, lots of public land to hunt and fish, you could probably get some decent mileage out of both solar and wind power, etc. Hell if anything short term climate change might actually make the winters livable.

It's sort of a back of my mind type of thought but when I think about where and how we are going to raise our kids over the next 20 years or so, this stuff weighs heavily in the calculations. Maybe more heavily than it should. I suppose that the best preparation for climate change is to get yourself in a position to be extremely mobile in the future (geographically and financially), but I have to be honest, that doesn't hold a lot of appeal to me. Unlike a lot of people on the boards I'm just not a traveler, and certainly I would prefer to raise my kids in one place.

Anyone else think about this stuff?


nereo

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2018, 02:58:13 PM »
Two potential sources you might find interesting;
1) insurance actuaries routinely put out risk assessments, often down to the county level and sometimes to individual properties. There are all sorts of maps showing your risks against a variety of natural disasters.
2) climate models (a-la the IPCC's AR5 and the National CLimate Assessment) can give you a lot of information on what changes a particular area will experience over the coming decades. Some regions will change far more than others.

Neither is going to be terribly useful for 100 year predictions, as there are so many assumptions 'baked in' that the degree of change becomes highly uncertain. Few climate models even attempt to predict past 2100 (82 years) - 100 years is asking a lot.

What's even harder to predict is the social-economic shifts which may happen. Will MN see an influx or outflux of people? Climate predictions have the midwest experiencing more heat waves and drought conditions, though an increase in the number of frost-free days (which could help big-Ag in the short term).  What will the world economic-stage look like - will the three largest economies still be US/China/Japan (most models suggest India, Indonesia and Brazil will crack into the top 5)? What will war, disease of famine do?  We're likely to see the number of global refugees increase dramatically - which countries take them in may influence their demographics for decades to come.

Finally, you said "I suppose that the best preparation for climate change is to get yourself in a position to be extremely mobile in the future " - flexibility is probably the best approach to very long-term planning.

GuitarStv

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2018, 08:08:54 AM »
My inclination would be to look for:
- high ground (not flood prone)
- non-earthquake prone area
- not near a coast
- slightly cooler weather on average than you would like right now


I'd also be inclined to look for either:
- a remote area where people are more self-sufficient
- a highly populated area where there are too many people to ignore in the event of a crisis

If you have a lot of family, or very close friends in an area that would be a big benefit too . . . as you might depend upon support (or want to offer it) to others.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2018, 09:29:51 AM by GuitarStv »

StarBright

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2018, 08:24:32 AM »
My husband and I had this discussion a couple of years ago because we were faced with job options in Southern CA, the UK, and Ohio. I think Wales would have been awesome but was too far from family and we have children.

So we ended up in Ohio. We bought a house on the bluff side of a river and made sure it wasn't in any floodplains (though at some point, that data will go out the window, I think). We like that we are in area with trees, and water, and land, and because it was an old town, it was designed for walking.

Compared to SoCal - it is an area in which life can be easily sustained. I know it sounds silly, but it was important to me to be somewhere where water was easily accessible. The thought of taking water from someone else's river, or desalinating ocean water was just wacky to me. I think it is an amazing feat that humans can tame an environment and make a previously unlivable place, livable - but I don't necessarily thing we should do that if we can avoid it.

Milizard

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2018, 11:52:57 AM »
My inclination would be to look for:
- high ground (not flood prone)
- non-earthquake prone area
- not near a coast
- slightly cooler weather on average than you would like right now


I'd also be inclined to look for either:
- a remote area where people are more self-sufficient
- a highly populated area where there are too many people to ignore in the event of a crisis

If you have a lot of family, or very close friends in an area that would be a big benefit too . . . as you might depend upon support (or want to offer it) to others.

http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2018/01/natural_disaster_map_shows_why.html

newgirl

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2018, 01:21:56 PM »
My inclination would be to look for:
- high ground (not flood prone)
- non-earthquake prone area
- not near a coast
- slightly cooler weather on average than you would like right now


I'd also be inclined to look for either:
- a remote area where people are more self-sufficient
- a highly populated area where there are too many people to ignore in the event of a crisis

If you have a lot of family, or very close friends in an area that would be a big benefit too . . . as you might depend upon support (or want to offer it) to others.

http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2018/01/natural_disaster_map_shows_why.html

hah! Looks like my instinct to homestead in northern MN is a good one. I never really considered Michigan before, either. And Ohio doesn't look half bad either. Strictly for natural disasters, obviously.

GuitarStv

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2018, 01:45:13 PM »
Natural disasters just look at Detroit and say "They've suffered enough."

nereo

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #7 on: January 16, 2018, 02:00:11 PM »
Natural disasters just look at Detroit and say "They've suffered enough."
Speaking of Detroit - it's a good example of how hard it is to predict what an area will look like in 50 years.  50 years ago Detroit was an economic powerhouse (5th largest US city) and San Jose, CA was barely large enough to call itself a city.  Arizona's population quadrupeld, Florida's has tripled in size, California, Texas and Georgia have more than doubled... yet New York, Pennsylvania, Illionois and Michigan have barely grown at all.

What will various regions of the US look like in 50 years?  Who knows.

Milizard

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2018, 06:52:01 PM »
Natural disasters just look at Detroit and say "They've suffered enough."
Speaking of Detroit - it's a good example of how hard it is to predict what an area will look like in 50 years.  50 years ago Detroit was an economic powerhouse (5th largest US city) and San Jose, CA was barely large enough to call itself a city.  Arizona's population quadrupeld, Florida's has tripled in size, California, Texas and Georgia have more than doubled... yet New York, Pennsylvania, Illionois and Michigan have barely grown at all.

What will various regions of the US look like in 50 years?  Who knows.

It used to be that larger cities were located where they made sense geographically--near navigable waterways and resources, such as drinking water.  The last decades took us away from that, thinking of places like Vegas and maybe Phoenix.  Probably lots of cities in particularly the southwest that have been made more habitable via human intervention.  However, the subject of this thread being climate change, that recent human intervention is likely to become more difficult and costly once again.  How much are we willing to continue to relocate the basic necessities of living vs. moving nearer to them?

nereo

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2018, 07:28:31 PM »
Natural disasters just look at Detroit and say "They've suffered enough."
Speaking of Detroit - it's a good example of how hard it is to predict what an area will look like in 50 years.  50 years ago Detroit was an economic powerhouse (5th largest US city) and San Jose, CA was barely large enough to call itself a city.  Arizona's population quadrupeld, Florida's has tripled in size, California, Texas and Georgia have more than doubled... yet New York, Pennsylvania, Illionois and Michigan have barely grown at all.

What will various regions of the US look like in 50 years?  Who knows.

It used to be that larger cities were located where they made sense geographically--near navigable waterways and resources, such as drinking water.  The last decades took us away from that, thinking of places like Vegas and maybe Phoenix.  Probably lots of cities in particularly the southwest that have been made more habitable via human intervention.  However, the subject of this thread being climate change, that recent human intervention is likely to become more difficult and costly once again.  How much are we willing to continue to relocate the basic necessities of living vs. moving nearer to them?

I think the above statement needs a huge asterick attached. Namely - what 'necessities of living' are we talking about that one must transport in order to make a particular habitable?  Water? Some form of heat? Access to shipping? Food?
Cities were located where it made sense at the time. Those that could provide lots of jobs grew. Most emerged along natural sheltered embayments because water transport was the only way of transporting most stuff.  Others were built for their military importance (Quebec) or because a missionary was established their (often for random historical reasons).  Madrid was specifically built to be inconveinent to get to. But take away their access to the sea and many of these older cities aren't any more "habitable" to ones that have sprung up in recent decades.  Two cities you mentioned - Phoenix & Las Vegas, are ideal spots for solar energy.  Is that less important today than some place like New England that relies heavily on importing fuel-oil for heating and electricity but has more water resources?  One imports/recycles a crap-ton of water, the other a crap-ton of fossil fuels.

Industrial cities still need deep-water ports, but that's not as important for other cities.  We built railroads (opening up most of the heartland of both the US and Canada) and then the interstate system. Some cities have flourished because of oil or tech or cattle or manufacturing. New England used to be filled with large cities and towns because of textile and lumber mills - then it became cheaper to import lumber from BC and textiles from Asia.  Quebec controlled the ST. Lawrence seaway - the only way of getting goods and grain from the midwest - until NY built the Erie canal and there was a way to bypass the gulf (NYC boomed, Quebec crashed).

TheWifeHalf

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2018, 08:38:26 PM »
And Ohio doesn't look half bad either. Strictly for natural disasters, obviously.

The thing I notice most regarding climate change, is we are now a growing Zone 6 - we have been a Zone 5 since I needed to know such things, about 50 yrs.

Milizard

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2018, 08:04:14 AM »
Natural disasters just look at Detroit and say "They've suffered enough."
Speaking of Detroit - it's a good example of how hard it is to predict what an area will look like in 50 years.  50 years ago Detroit was an economic powerhouse (5th largest US city) and San Jose, CA was barely large enough to call itself a city.  Arizona's population quadrupeld, Florida's has tripled in size, California, Texas and Georgia have more than doubled... yet New York, Pennsylvania, Illionois and Michigan have barely grown at all.

What will various regions of the US look like in 50 years?  Who knows.

It used to be that larger cities were located where they made sense geographically--near navigable waterways and resources, such as drinking water.  The last decades took us away from that, thinking of places like Vegas and maybe Phoenix.  Probably lots of cities in particularly the southwest that have been made more habitable via human intervention.  However, the subject of this thread being climate change, that recent human intervention is likely to become more difficult and costly once again.  How much are we willing to continue to relocate the basic necessities of living vs. moving nearer to them?

I think the above statement needs a huge asterick attached. Namely - what 'necessities of living' are we talking about that one must transport in order to make a particular habitable?  Water? Some form of heat? Access to shipping? Food?
Cities were located where it made sense at the time. Those that could provide lots of jobs grew. Most emerged along natural sheltered embayments because water transport was the only way of transporting most stuff.  Others were built for their military importance (Quebec) or because a missionary was established their (often for random historical reasons).  Madrid was specifically built to be inconveinent to get to. But take away their access to the sea and many of these older cities aren't any more "habitable" to ones that have sprung up in recent decades.  Two cities you mentioned - Phoenix & Las Vegas, are ideal spots for solar energy.  Is that less important today than some place like New England that relies heavily on importing fuel-oil for heating and electricity but has more water resources?  One imports/recycles a crap-ton of water, the other a crap-ton of fossil fuels.

Industrial cities still need deep-water ports, but that's not as important for other cities.  We built railroads (opening up most of the heartland of both the US and Canada) and then the interstate system. Some cities have flourished because of oil or tech or cattle or manufacturing. New England used to be filled with large cities and towns because of textile and lumber mills - then it became cheaper to import lumber from BC and textiles from Asia.  Quebec controlled the ST. Lawrence seaway - the only way of getting goods and grain from the midwest - until NY built the Erie canal and there was a way to bypass the gulf (NYC boomed, Quebec crashed).
I'm not sure why there needs to be an asterisk,  as my post wasn't a dissertation,  but an idea, my idea being that climate change would result in a contraction of resources that have allowed for population growth in places where otherwise would not be feasible.  With less plentiful resources, a focus on logistical efficiency might be renewed. And yes, the necessities of life are food, water, shelter.  Electricity is nice and useful, too, but not a basic necessity of life.

Sibley

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #12 on: January 17, 2018, 12:21:03 PM »
And Ohio doesn't look half bad either. Strictly for natural disasters, obviously.

The thing I notice most regarding climate change, is we are now a growing Zone 6 - we have been a Zone 5 since I needed to know such things, about 50 yrs.

I was surprised when I looked up my growing zone, it was more temperate than I expected for the Midwest. Though I'm still emphasizing drought tolerant, hardy plants that can take a beating from Mother Nature.

soccerluvof4

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2018, 02:58:43 PM »
Things are changing so much from year to year its hard to say. And being on high ground doesnt mean your safe from water. Can depend on the water table as well as flood rains. Down south they have more snow than the midwest. Its easier to say at least for me, I wouldn't live on the coast.

pecunia

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #14 on: January 19, 2018, 06:13:50 PM »
Will there be more opportunities as the climate change?  People gotta eat.  Some places in the Northern Great Lakes region have a very short growing season.  Will global warming allow, for example, vineyards where none could easily exist before?  Perhaps a milder climate would allow multiple crops to be grown in a given year.

Will the lakes dry up or will there be more rain and they could expand?

GuitarStv

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #15 on: January 20, 2018, 08:47:50 AM »
Will there be more opportunities as the climate change?  People gotta eat.  Some places in the Northern Great Lakes region have a very short growing season.  Will global warming allow, for example, vineyards where none could easily exist before?  Perhaps a milder climate would allow multiple crops to be grown in a given year.

Will the lakes dry up or will there be more rain and they could expand?

Sure, some cold areas may warm up a bit on average . . . some dry areas may get wetter, and some wet areas may get drier.  The main issue that climate change brings is wider swings in weather though.  You might get a couple extremely dry years, and then a couple years with lots of flooding.

Plants tend to like consistency.  They have particular temperature ranges and watering requirements in order to survive, but to flourish these ranges are narrower.  Climate change therefore is likely to make most land less productive.

Syonyk

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #16 on: January 20, 2018, 09:25:50 AM »
Plants tend to like consistency.  They have particular temperature ranges and watering requirements in order to survive, but to flourish these ranges are narrower.  Climate change therefore is likely to make most land less productive.

This is one reason I'm very interested in building some earth sheltered greenhouses on my property for high density production (probably aquaponics based).

Lichen

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2018, 10:06:41 AM »
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but MN is an area of concern for many environmental scientists. The entire region is suffering from extensive tree migration, much like most of the northern US and southern Canada. This is leaving deadwood, and coupled with decreasing rainfall and longer dry seasons, fires are expected to go up in areas that previously had few. Although MN historically has wildfires, they rarely are as intense as those in the west. MN has already experienced some of this. (The Boundary Waters fire a few years back is being used as a model of the effects of tree migration on fire seasons in university classrooms, for example.)

The problem with the natural disaster map linked is it is using historic data. Unfortunately, that is no longer a reliable method of predicting the future. It's also only addressing high profile disaster fears, and half of them are arguably not even climate related. It isn't showing wildfire danger. It isn't showing drought, extended heat, or more intense winters. It's not showing wind storms -- and a straight line wind burst at high enough speeds can be more damaging than any tornado. (Just ask the residents of central and eastern Washington, whom got hit with two such "freak" events in a single year in 2015.)

So is MN more resilient to climate change? No. Is it possible to weather climate change successfully and possibly thrive in MN? Possibly. Just be realistic about what dangers will increase or develop in the area, because no region will be untouched. My not too educated guess would be an increase in storm intensity off the lakes, drastic changes to growing season, and increased wildfires. There may also be, odd as it sounds, drought issues in portions of the region as the loss of the boreal forests changes local weather patterns.

sol

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #18 on: January 20, 2018, 10:34:59 AM »
I think climate resilience is going to be less important than economic resilience.  The two aren't entirely unrelated, but the explosive growth in places like Vegas highlights the difference.  Lots of natural disasters (like earthquakes and volcanoes) are significant threats that basically ignore climate, so if you're worried about natural disasters more than gradual warming trends, I'd consider those too.

Here's my appeal to authority:  I'm a natural resources scientist who deals with helping people plan for things like future climate scenarios, so part of my job is keeping up with the consensus projections for my part of the country (the west).

Average changes are pretty well understood.  In general, California and the southwest are not going to get an better, but keep in mind that people still thrive in Mexico and the US could thrive under a similar (hotter, drier) climate.  Western Canada is expected to get wetter, but they're used to rain and have low population density anyway.  My home, here in the Pacific Northwest, is pretty well situated for future climate because we have abundant water resources, moderate temperatures, and a healthy agricultural industry that would probably benefit from some warming.  Lots of the farmers I know would love to have California style sunshine.

The problem with future climate is not the averages, though.  It's the tail cases.  Consider a normal probability distribution curve like the one shown below.  Each weather event is a dot that falls somewhere under the big curve (the climate), but it's only the few cases out at the tail ends that people care about, extreme events like a "bomb cyclone" or heat waves/droughts/floods.



Those events happen at fixed values (of say temperature or rainfall amounts) represented by the vertical lines separating the light blue (happy weather) and dark blue (unhappy weather) regions.  Climate change gradually shifts the entire curve over to the right, but those vertical lines stay in the same place.  Because the distribution curve is taller in the middle than out at the ends, this shift means that the dark blue regions change in area pretty dramatically in response to small shifts of the curve.

In practice, this why extreme weather events like floods and heat waves happen so much more often in response to small changes in climate.  The extreme tail cases are much more sensitive.  No one even notices when a normal day is five degrees hotter than normal, but when the hottest day of the decade gets five degrees hotter people start to die.

Predicting these tail events is much harder than predicting the average shifts, because every weather event is just one dot somewhere under that big curve and some years none of those dots land in dark blue region, even if the region is statistically larger than it was last year.

We have to plan for the tail cases.  The tail cases are things like major floods that wipe out infrastructure, or blizzards in April, or storm surges that flood the eastern seaboard.


brooklynguy

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #19 on: January 20, 2018, 12:16:09 PM »
I think climate resilience is going to be less important than economic resilience. 

Agree.  In my view, my home city’s best protection against rising sea levels is its obscene concentration of nonportable wealth.  Given the real estate values at stake in NYC, the powers that be will reengineer the earth before surrendering the city to the sea, so we may suffer less than many areas with comparable geographic vulnerability.

former player

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2018, 01:04:52 PM »
Plants tend to like consistency.  They have particular temperature ranges and watering requirements in order to survive, but to flourish these ranges are narrower.  Climate change therefore is likely to make most land less productive.

This is one reason I'm very interested in building some earth sheltered greenhouses on my property for high density production (probably aquaponics based).
Plants are acclimated not just to temperature but to light.  Northwards of the usual growing zone for a particular type of plant the amount of light available (eg the length of day over the growing season) changes.  In order to thrive in a different range plants have to adjust not just to different temperatures and water availabilities but also to different light availabilities.  It adds to the problem of plants flourishing in new ranges.

StarBright

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2018, 08:27:44 AM »
@sol Thanks so  much for taking the time to add your expertise to these threads. I learn so much when I read your posts!

sol

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2018, 08:37:57 AM »
@sol Thanks so  much for taking the time to add your expertise to these threads. I learn so much when I read your posts!

I like to write.  Thanks for reading.

Given the real estate values at stake in NYC, the powers that be will reengineer the earth before surrendering the city to the sea, so we may suffer less than many areas with comparable geographic vulnerability.

Build that (sea)wall!


dougules

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #23 on: February 01, 2018, 11:44:09 AM »
I think a lot of the middle of the US has such a variable climate that climate change might be lost in the noise of crazy weather that never seems to follow any pattern anyway.  That might even be a reason so many Americans are climate skeptics. 

pecunia

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #24 on: February 03, 2018, 03:19:50 PM »
"I think a lot of the middle of the US has such a variable climate that climate change might be lost in the noise of crazy weather that never seems to follow any pattern anyway.  That might even be a reason so many Americans are climate skeptics."

I think there will be insects coming from the South with no native enemies that will thrive in the formerly cold climate of the American Midwest.  I think there will be invasive plants that have heretofore been unseen.  It's already been nasty to some species of trees.

Where I grew up, it was too cold for termites.  That will change.

How far North will we see some of those nasty Southern snakes?  Will there really be giant alligators or Crocs living in the sewers of New York?  A few degrees of temperature difference may be all that it takes.

dougules

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #25 on: February 05, 2018, 11:46:03 AM »
"I think a lot of the middle of the US has such a variable climate that climate change might be lost in the noise of crazy weather that never seems to follow any pattern anyway.  That might even be a reason so many Americans are climate skeptics."

I think there will be insects coming from the South with no native enemies that will thrive in the formerly cold climate of the American Midwest.  I think there will be invasive plants that have heretofore been unseen.  It's already been nasty to some species of trees.

Where I grew up, it was too cold for termites.  That will change.

How far North will we see some of those nasty Southern snakes?  Will there really be giant alligators or Crocs living in the sewers of New York?  A few degrees of temperature difference may be all that it takes.

My husband is from PA, and he complains about it being more jungly down here, especially all the bugs.  I don't think native southern species going north will be that much of a problem, though, given that their native enemies will naturally move north with them.  The invasive non-native species here will be the problem.  You'll get to experience fire ants and kudzu. 

I guess I feel for you on snakes.  It's kind of a phobia for me.  I'm always really careful in the woods because copperheads and rattlesnakes are well camouflaged in leaves.  You just have to be careful to watch the ground when you walk somewhere they might be. 


« Last Edit: February 05, 2018, 11:51:32 AM by dougules »

MarciaB

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #26 on: August 10, 2018, 07:27:56 PM »
I'm bumping this thread to add a piece about winters lately not being cold enough in my part of the world (Oregon, specifically around Portland) so that the fucking yellow jacket queens don't die (enough of them anyway), which leads to lots and lots of huge colonies (they're ground nesters) and big problems. There are reports of Lowe's running out of pesticide, exterminators being booked out for weeks and weeks, ER visits skyrocketing for folks who have been swarmed...it's horrible. These are insects who have been here forever, but the climate conditions lately have allowed them to thrive (at our expense). #MyVersionOfHell

marty998

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #27 on: August 10, 2018, 07:45:20 PM »
This week 100% of the state of New South Wales was declared as officially in drought.

100%!

TV networks are interviewing farming kids 6-8 years old who have never seen rain in their lives.

It's already the case that most of Australia is uninhabitable.... we may be all squeezing ourselves into Victoria and Tasmania before the century is out.

v8rx7guy

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #28 on: August 10, 2018, 08:26:39 PM »
I'm bumping this thread to add a piece about winters lately not being cold enough in my part of the world (Oregon, specifically around Portland) so that the fucking yellow jacket queens don't die (enough of them anyway), which leads to lots and lots of huge colonies (they're ground nesters) and big problems. There are reports of Lowe's running out of pesticide, exterminators being booked out for weeks and weeks, ER visits skyrocketing for folks who have been swarmed...it's horrible. These are insects who have been here forever, but the climate conditions lately have allowed them to thrive (at our expense). #MyVersionOfHell

If Portland was similar to Washington,  you just had your coldest winter in 20-somethingyears not too long ago... late 2016 early 2017

sol

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #29 on: August 10, 2018, 08:33:39 PM »
If Portland was similar to Washington,  you just had your coldest winter in 20-somethingyears not too long ago... late 2016 early 2017

Also our hottest summer ever!  Isn't climate change a kick in the pants?

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #30 on: August 11, 2018, 10:22:31 AM »
Learning to reclaim and protect against desertification seems like a nobel cause.


I'm sure there are scientists working on it, but I haven't seen any news of it.  If solar panels in the desert were to provide power and also cooling shade, the power could be used to desalinate and/or pump water for irrigation.  I realize the scale is vast, but converting worthless desert wasteland into land that support life seems like a worthy goal.  Each acre of sucess would support the next, like the domino effect, except in all directions.

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #31 on: August 11, 2018, 11:11:35 AM »
...but converting worthless desert wasteland into land that support life seems like a worthy goal.

But... the endangered desert tortoise habitat will be threatened! (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ivanpah_Solar_Power_Facility#Desert_tortoise)

(seriously, there is stuff living in "desert wasteland," but the "environmentalists" have really lost their ability to say much after being against nuclear, then against coal, then against solar, then against... etc - at least the "Hey, let's kill off a few billion people to solve the problem" types are honest)

Desert solar is useful, but you still have to build the transmission lines to get the power out of the desert and somewhere useful.  A better national interconnect for power systems (high voltage DC is promising for that) would help a lot, because it can move power from places that have excess (if you've got negative power rates at night because it's windy in Texas, there are probably other places that can use that power for you) to places that are currently running thermal generation or turbines to generate power.

It's... a tricky set of technical problems, though.

I'm aiming towards a resilient homestead type approach, so ask me in 5 years how that's going.  We're currently dealing with record heat, which the garden certainly likes... I'm a bit less useful in 105F and smokey conditions, though.

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #32 on: August 11, 2018, 11:46:11 AM »
It's interesting how some utilities are simultaneously saying "we can't support solar and wind because it's intermittent" yet also refuse to spend money on need infrastructure upgrades that have the side benefit of providing better ability to manage power distribution. By interesting, I mean stupid. Between them and the anti-solar, pro-desert crowd, it'll be hard to significantly expand utility-scale power. I do think it'll be more economical for most people to switch to rooftop solar in the near future, especially if it can be amortized over 30 years like housing itself.

Syonyk - have you looked into small desalination systems (~250-500 gallons a day capacitiy)? I've read into them but am unsure about their practicality vs. buying a giant tank and storing freshwater in it.

sol

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #33 on: August 11, 2018, 12:19:12 PM »
Learning to reclaim and protect against desertification seems like a nobel cause.


I'm sure there are scientists working on it, but I haven't seen any news of it.  If solar panels in the desert were to provide power and also cooling shade, the power could be used to desalinate and/or pump water for irrigation.  I realize the scale is vast, but converting worthless desert wasteland into land that support life seems like a worthy goal.  Each acre of sucess would support the next, like the domino effect, except in all directions.

Southern California has been doing this for decades, and it's a disaster.  Leave the desert alone! 

Out in the Mojave in the 90s, you could buy land for like $100/acre.  You truck in a cat and scrape off the desert pavement to expose the finer grained dusty soil underneath.  You sink a deep well to access the free-for-all of California water law, and then you center-pivot grow something stupid like alfalfa or almonds.  After five or six years of this you've extracted a bunch of profitable crops, depleted the local aquifer and caused compaction and subsidence, and salinated your soil enough that it won't support life for thousands of years.  But who cares?  You just abandon the fields and buy another one.  The Mojave is covered in the wreckage of abandoned short-term agriculture.

The removal of the pavement layer on top remobilizes the soil underneath as soon as the field is abandoned, which causes sandstorms and dunes that choke out the existing desert plants, and the desert expands to encroach on neighboring ecosystems.  This sort of "bringing water to the desert" development is making desertification worse, not better.  Not to mention all of the trucks that drive across the playas willy-nilly to bring in farm workers, or the unregulated waste dumps they leave behind.  These are wild areas just like forests and mountains, and they probably deserve similar protections.

At least with solar you can keep the area productive, instead of using it up in a few years and then trashing it to move on to somewhere new.  As others have pointed out, though, the problem with desert solar is distribution.  One of solar's strongest selling points is distributed generation, near the point of consumption, which minimizes the need for long distance high voltage lines.  It's not only cheaper to make, it's cheaper to distribute.

"environmentalists" have really lost their ability to say much after being against nuclear, then against coal, then against solar,

I don't think it's fair to group these people together.  The folks who opposed nuclear were anti-cold war types from the 50s who were terrified of Chernobyl style disasters, which is a very different group than the climate scientists who oppose coal because it is causing droughts and wildfires or melting ice caps, who are not the same people who are trying to protect endangered species.  It's like criticizing Ronald Reagan for Trump's ties to Russia, or Mitt Romney for the Bush Iraq wars.  These people have very different goals in mind, and the fact that they all call themselves "conservatives" does not mean they are all equally responsible for each other's failings.

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better national interconnect for power systems (high voltage DC is promising for that)

Aren't all long distance transmission lines already high voltage DC?  That's why we have transformers and substations, to convert distant power to AC for local use.  Are you suggesting we put in more transformers in more places, to minimize the distance AC has to go?  I assure you that power utilities have already run the math on the most efficient way to solve this problem.

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #34 on: August 11, 2018, 02:04:25 PM »
I'd consider myself an environmentalist who is generally in favour of nuclear power.  Nuclear power has legitimate problems (a big one being the storage of contaminated materials that remain contaminated for thousands of years, and another being the lack of fissionable materials to support current world power demands for long - both of which have partial but not fully satisfying solutions currently), but fears of a Chenobyl only come from people who don't understand the fundamental design difference between the reactors used in North America and the older, much less safe Russian design.

sol

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #35 on: August 11, 2018, 02:13:47 PM »
but fears of a Chenobyl only come from people who don't understand the fundamental design difference between the reactors

Let's not forget that a big part of the anti-nuclear paranoia was funded by fossil fuel companies.  Once you build a reactor, nuclear is cheap clean power for decades and decades.  Basically every nuclear plant that gets built causes a coal plant to go out of business, and they hate that.  They happily funded "environmental" groups to oppose new nuclear plants. 

As to the design differences, I agree that modern plants cannot melt down like Chernobyl did, but they can still cause problems.  Fukushima was a legit disaster and it wasn't a drop-out reactor, it just happened to built in a really bad place.  Of course, the vast majority of nuclear contamination in the US came from weapons manufacturing, not power generation.  We cranked a lot of plutonium in the 1980s, without any regard for the 40,000 year consequences of that decision.

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #36 on: August 11, 2018, 03:21:06 PM »
but fears of a Chenobyl only come from people who don't understand the fundamental design difference between the reactors

Let's not forget that a big part of the anti-nuclear paranoia was funded by fossil fuel companies.  Once you build a reactor, nuclear is cheap clean power for decades and decades.  Basically every nuclear plant that gets built causes a coal plant to go out of business, and they hate that.  They happily funded "environmental" groups to oppose new nuclear plants. 

As to the design differences, I agree that modern plants cannot melt down like Chernobyl did, but they can still cause problems.  Fukushima was a legit disaster and it wasn't a drop-out reactor, it just happened to built in a really bad place.  Of course, the vast majority of nuclear contamination in the US came from weapons manufacturing, not power generation.  We cranked a lot of plutonium in the 1980s, without any regard for the 40,000 year consequences of that decision.

Agreed.  Although the Fukushima thing wasn't a design problem, it was a location problem.  It's hard to ever get on board with building reactors on unstable earthquake or tsunami zones (ie all of Japan).  A gazillion tons of water or the ground jumping up and down a few meters is tough on any building.

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #37 on: August 11, 2018, 03:51:13 PM »
It's interesting how some utilities are simultaneously saying "we can't support solar and wind because it's intermittent" yet also refuse to spend money on need infrastructure upgrades that have the side benefit of providing better ability to manage power distribution. By interesting, I mean stupid.

Oh, good.  You've got the ready-made solution for integrating solar/wind/etc and keeping a stable grid?  Don't keep it to yourself, share that research!  Everything I've read, including fairly recent stuff, is clear that the problem is still quite unsolved - unless the plan is to just starve the power companies out and let the grid collapse in 10-15 years, which quite a few people seem to want (or, at least, are perfectly OK with - the "The power company owes me retail rates for everything I generate, instead of their energy cost, and I should get paid to use their grid" folks).

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Between them and the anti-solar, pro-desert crowd, it'll be hard to significantly expand utility-scale power.

Except for all those utility scale buildouts doing exactly that.  Rooftop solar is a rogue generator that's hard to deal with, utility scale solar can do things like bid into the energy markets with accurate forecasts, and operate curtailed - if you can't maintain max output because of clouds, maintain 50 or 60% of rated output, so you can keep the slew rates low.  A bit of energy storage can let the plant ride through dips in the clouds as well.  But there's a huge, huge difference in how a utility solar plant is operated, and how rooftop inverters operate ("All the power they can produce at every point in time, with no external controls on them").

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I do think it'll be more economical for most people to switch to rooftop solar in the near future, especially if it can be amortized over 30 years like housing itself.

Are you referring to off grid solar, or grid tied with no backup?  Or what, in particular, variant of "solar" do you expect it will be economical for people to switch to?

If it's grid tied solar, you have to deal with the problem that less than half of a typical power rate for residential is for a kWh of energy - the rest is grid maintenance.  It's woven into the grid costs since it makes for a simpler power bill, and the ramping tiers tend to approximate demand charge behavior (if you're using a ton of energy, the connection to your house/neighborhood has to be able to handle more than someone barely using anything).

If it's off grid solar, well... you run into the problem that it's comically impractical to do with a typical house, even if you handwave at expensive lithium batteries.  If you're cool with blacking out entirely for a couple weeks a winter, you can do it, but to design a system that can run a typical house off grid for the winter, you've got an awful lot of extra expense involved, as well as a backup generator that is far, far less thermally efficient than a power plant (a typical small scale generator runs around 10-12% thermal efficiency, maybe 15% for a small diesel, but they're a royal pain to start in the winter when you need the power).  I deal with the realities of off gird power in my office, and am designing a system that can run my house substantially off grid, but I intend to remain grid tied, and don't expect my system to "pay off" in financial terms just about ever.  Even with me doing all the work myself (because nobody will do what I want, and I'm stubborn like that).

If you can get an off grid system to generate power at 4x the grid rate over the long term, you're doing well.  Two years in, my cost per kWh delivered for my office power system is around $1.50/kWh.  In 10 years, assuming similar loads, I'll be around $0.30/kWh - but then need battery replacement.  In 30 years, I might be able to get my cost down to close to what the grid offers, but that's assuming zero other system failures, not counting generator fuel (which, admittedly, is a small amount), replacement panels, etc.  And I'm a battery/energy geek who is willing to do all sorts of interesting things to maintain my system - I'm not a set it and forget it type, which is what most people want of their electricity.  It would have been far, far cheaper to trench power, but, to me, far less interesting.  I'm weird.  I accept this.

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Syonyk - have you looked into small desalination systems (~250-500 gallons a day capacitiy)? I've read into them but am unsure about their practicality vs. buying a giant tank and storing freshwater in it.

... no, it's not like I've got a ton of salt water to deal with.  I live in high desert.  We get 8-10" of precipitation a year, which I intend to substantially collect in a 10k gallon tank or so (I estimate 6-12k gallons/yr of collection, depending on efficiency of my collectors and what I can route where).  That'll be for irrigation, firefighting, and backup house use, but intended for outdoor use.

Aren't all long distance transmission lines already high voltage DC?  That's why we have transformers and substations, to convert distant power to AC for local use.  Are you suggesting we put in more transformers in more places, to minimize the distance AC has to go?  I assure you that power utilities have already run the math on the most efficient way to solve this problem.

No.  It's almost entirely high voltage AC, which gets interesting over long distances.  But we don't have anything resembling a national grid that can pump energy in and out of various places - there's no way for wind in Texas to... well, really power anything but Texas (ERCOT), and there's no way for western AZ solar to power the east coast as they're in their evening peak (western vs eastern interconnect, and a total lack of capacity across that distance).  Doing something that's a national high voltage DC grid opens up a lot of options, without requiring any sort of frequency sync across the country.  It's hard enough on the current grids we have, but HVDC drops out to the local waveform where you need it, and you can skip the inverters on solar farms - just have a DC-DC boost converter coming off the solar arrays.  There's enough capacitance in the system that it's quite stable, and you can just have current sources and sinks, letting the voltage float over a fairly wide range. 

Agreed.  Although the Fukushima thing wasn't a design problem, it was a location problem.  It's hard to ever get on board with building reactors on unstable earthquake or tsunami zones (ie all of Japan).  A gazillion tons of water or the ground jumping up and down a few meters is tough on any building.

Fukushima held up to the tsunami and earthquake just fine.  What it didn't hold up to, and what it wasn't designed for, was a total station blackout.  The plant required power to maintain reactor safety, and the people managing it didn't listen to the recommendation to retrofit steam coolant pumps that would have allowed them to cool the reactors in the event of the total blackout that happened.  It's a "Hey, this design was flawed, you should fix it this way..." situation, followed by a "Nah, we're not going to."  And, as has been noted, newer designs are radically better designed in terms of walk away safety and such - they're literally designed to maintain themselves for some period of time without power or operators (typically 48 hours), and then to melt down in a designed path to a non-critical, stable, safe configuration.

sol

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #38 on: August 11, 2018, 04:11:12 PM »
No.  It's almost entirely high voltage AC, which gets interesting over long distances. 

I know that we use high voltage DC transmission to send our regional hydropower surplus to California.  I assumed this was standard practice for sending lots of power over long distances, but I guess that's not the case?  Wikipedia suggests most utilities are just using locally generated power and have no need for long distance transmission, so they just deal with the AC losses as part of their overhead.  That seems dumb, outside of major metro areas.

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #39 on: August 11, 2018, 04:24:13 PM »
I know that we use high voltage DC transmission to send our regional hydropower surplus to California.  I assumed this was standard practice for sending lots of power over long distances, but I guess that's not the case?  Wikipedia suggests most utilities are just using locally generated power and have no need for long distance transmission, so they just deal with the AC losses as part of their overhead.  That seems dumb, outside of major metro areas.

In the US, HVDC lines are the exception, rather than the rule.

Partly because, as you note, there's not a huge amount of long distance transmission (which limits the amount of renewables you can make use of), but a large part of it is simply that high voltage DC didn't meaningfully exist as an option until fairly recently - and most of our power grid predates that as an option.  It's easy to make high voltage AC - just use transformers.  High voltage DC, at useful currents, is a relatively recent thing (early 80s, really, were the first practical projects).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_HVDC_projects

You have losses either with HVDC or AC transmission, but they differ in their nature.  For undersea cables, capacitive losses are far higher, so HVDC has an advantage.  For most of the grid system, the cost and complexity of a HVDC link exceeds the benefit they'd gain from it, so AC transformers work fine.

"Totally redoing the power grid" is a very, very high cost project, so quite a bit of the grid is just a more modern version of what was initially installed.

pecunia

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #40 on: August 14, 2018, 08:37:15 AM »
Nuclear Power could be a major solution to global warming.  It can produce electricity or do other stuff all day and all night for 365 days a year.  Beer will stay cold.

It is ignored due to FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt)  People have been all stirred up about the "waste."  There is some waste but it is still stored at big power plants that have been running for 40 years or more.  It takes surprisingly little space.  What about nuclear proliferation?  Well - The stuff at nuclear plants is pretty hard to turn into nuclear bombs.  You could make a dirty bomb and just spread the stuff around, but you can do that with lots of chemicals too.  I mean poison in my back yard would scare me just like nuclear waste.

There are new types of nuclear reactors that can use the old waste and produce less waste.  Maybe, some are being built in China.  There seems to be major resistance to trying any of these new reactors here in the United States.  I think big energy may be shutting any progress on these down.  Solar and Wind use a lot of natural gas when they aren't available.  Who wants a competitor?  It does seem very unusual that nuclear energy, such a promising energy source, hit a nearly total brick wall in terms of real progress.

One New Type:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molten_salt_reactor

If people are really serious about fixing this climate change thing, don't you think it's time to at least try some of these new nukes?  The reactors we have now were designed in the 1960s.  Vacuum Tubes were still used in the 1960s.  Lots of things have been improved since then. 

How about the money?  Well, wind and solar are given a lot of subsidy breaks.  (This helps sell gas,)  Maybe, we could fund a few new small nukes too. 

If we honestly fixed this thing, the Polar Bears may thank us some day.

nereo

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #41 on: August 14, 2018, 09:32:33 AM »
I spent much of last year working as an analyst for the decommissioning of three nuclear plants in the US.

As pecunia said, public resistance to new reactors can be summed up by 'Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt', but it became apparent very early on that the overwhelming cost of a nuclear reactor was based on two factors: security and long-term storage of fuel.

Security was described to me by one of our clients as an 'inside-out supermax prison design" - instead of keeping the most dangerous people inside a secure building, every plant is designed to keep the most dangerous people out, and requires super-secure sectors protected from everything from aerial to cyber attacks (stuxnet anyone?). Plants have concentric rings of round-the-clock security where even most of the workers can't access the most sensitive portions of the plant. It's military-level security with a price tag to match.

Long-term storage can be an ever greater challenge, and it relates directly back to the security issue. We've utterly failed to establish any sort of nuclear repository (e.g. Yucca Mountain) so spent fuel sits in secure lots for several years as it cools before placed within encasement vessels and then (again) stored for decades, all under heavy security. By law all nuclear plants have a decomissioning fund to help pay for these expenses for a minimum of 50 years (not nearly long enough!). In other words, several decades after a plant has last pushed power into the grid (and the plant is no longer generating income) you've paying for 24/7 armed security to guard a few hundred vessels in a secure lot with a very wide perimeter.

Solving the storage problem is technically straightforward but has been a political non-starter. But as long as nuclear material is a source of catnip for very bad people I'm not sure how we move past the massive security costs.

FWIW, these two ongoing costs (security and storage) are the leading reason why small-to-medium plants around the country are closing. Very large plants can economically churn out power due to economies of scale.  Instead of trying to build dozens of medium (~500MW) plants, we'd be better served building a few very large (>5,000MW) plants near large urban centers.  But then you get cries of NIMBY! - going back to @pecunia's point of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt.

ETA: To be fair, beyond the nuclear material, nuclear power comes with its own environmental footprint. First, they take an enormous amount of concrete to build, and second they take massive amounts of water to cool. Just sayin' - no tech is without its downsides.

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #42 on: August 14, 2018, 09:43:59 AM »
(disclosure: I work for a public utility)

Nuclear is really hard to build. It's often built at a base-load scale, which is a huge chunk to lay out in one sitting, especially at a time when per-person demand for energy is not growing. Building a new gas turbine costs only $10's of millions, while a New nuclear plant--which generates more energy--costs perhaps $15,000 million, perhaps more. The Southeastern utilities are having trouble determining whether the economics are there and keep stopping and restarting their nukes.

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #43 on: August 14, 2018, 11:32:33 AM »
The obvious solution for the long term nuclear waste seems to be that the technology needs to evolve to the point that it doesn't produce harmful waste.  As long as the waste contains harmful levels of radiation it still has energy that needs to be extracted.  "Impossible" only means that we haven't figured out how to do it, yet. 


If it was simple somebody would have figured it out already.  It took thousands of years to invent the bicycle, and that seems pretty simple today.


After the brightest minds of the day finish designing ever fancier cell phones and other toys, maybe they'll get around to solving our energy needs. ;)





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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #44 on: August 14, 2018, 11:57:46 AM »
We have been able to create and design truly incredible things in the past couple centuries.  This often instills in people an overconfidence regarding what we have (or will have) the technical capability to actually do.  It's as frightening to hear the faith in "science miracles" as if they said "well, angels love us and want to help . . . so if things get really bad they'll just fly down and fix our problems".

I'm not saying that you can't be optimistic about the future, I'm saying that you shouldn't expect miracles.  Even from science.

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #45 on: August 14, 2018, 12:09:09 PM »
The obvious solution for the long term nuclear waste seems to be that the technology needs to evolve to the point that it doesn't produce harmful waste.  As long as the waste contains harmful levels of radiation it still has energy that needs to be extracted.  "Impossible" only means that we haven't figured out how to do it, yet. 


If it was simple somebody would have figured it out already.  It took thousands of years to invent the bicycle, and that seems pretty simple today.


After the brightest minds of the day finish designing ever fancier cell phones and other toys, maybe they'll get around to solving our energy needs. ;)

I think we’ve already got all the technology and knowledge we need to ‘solve’ our energy needs - all of our problems stem from us not wanting to pay for the kind of energy grid we want, and not being able to make the evaluated compromises needed to balance cost, efficiency, environmentalism and convenience.
 

sol

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #46 on: August 14, 2018, 12:13:46 PM »
After the brightest minds of the day finish designing ever fancier cell phones and other toys, maybe they'll get around to solving our energy needs. ;)

We're working on it, I assure you.  I know lots of smart people who are working on the nuclear fuel cycle and how to reprocess and minimize the worst end products.  The problem seems to be that it isn't cost or energy effective to turn spent fuel into something you don't need to guard.

And new nuke plants aren't really our problem.  The vast majority of high level waste we have is from making bombs decades ago, not making fuel rods for power plants today.  These days we know better how to deal with the manufacturing, but back then we were just cranking out bombs as fast as we could without any regard for the waste stream.

And in the larger world of nonproliferation, secured US waste is about the lowest priority.  Yes it is crazy expensive, but we're already paying those costs at existing facilities anyway so the marginal cost of waste storage each year isn't nearly as bad as it looks.  There are lots of easier places for bad guys to get nuclear materials.  The North Korea's didn't steal theirs from the US stockpile.

GreenEggs

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #47 on: August 14, 2018, 12:15:06 PM »
We have been able to create and design truly incredible things in the past couple centuries.  This often instills in people an overconfidence regarding what we have (or will have) the technical capability to actually do.  It's as frightening to hear the faith in "science miracles" as if they said "well, angels love us and want to help . . . so if things get really bad they'll just fly down and fix our problems".

I'm not saying that you can't be optimistic about the future, I'm saying that you shouldn't expect miracles.  Even from science.




I agree that many things we dream of being able to do are actually impossible.  But, it's also true with most discoveries and inventions that there's is almost always a lot of room for improvement after an idea is proven possible. 

pecunia

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #48 on: August 14, 2018, 12:54:14 PM »
The US has been building a lot of gas plants.  It has been building a lot of solar and wind.  It has been shutting down coal and nuke plants.  You'd think the big shift has been to wind.  Well - it has.  The taxpayer has paid for it and the rules are skewed in t's favor.  How do things stack up today?

Where does your electricity come from?

32 percent natural gas
30 percent coal
20 percent Nuclear Power
17 percent - renewables including
    6 percent wind
    7 percent hydroelectric
    2 percent biomass
    1 percent solar
    1 percent geothermal

https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.php?page=electricity_in_the_united_states

It was noted above that nuclear power plants presently have beau coup security forces.  They didn't used to.  There weren't major problems before the security forces were bloated.  These people have to be paid by the proceeds of the power plant.  Is a potential source of greenhouse gas energy being unnecessarily crippled from economic viability?


- SNIP -

"I'm not saying that you can't be optimistic about the future, I'm saying that you shouldn't expect miracles.  Even from science."


I agree that many things we dream of being able to do are actually impossible.  But, it's also true with most discoveries and inventions that there's is almost always a lot of room for improvement after an idea is proven possible. 

You can't improve unless you try.  Often improvements are evolutionary rather than revolutionary.  Nuclear power may be the most viable solution to global warming.  It is a condensed source of power rather than a distributed form covering major portions of the landscape.  It's location may be determined where men need the power rather than where nature has desired to produce it.  It has a proven track record of reliability and safety.  Like any technology, it can improve.  This can only be done by "cut and try" of the designs.  Everything is not done on paper.  Problems are often found and fixed in the field.

What is actually possible and impossible may not be determined until the idea in question is attempted.  Again, I think some of these new ideas should be attempted.  The climate problem is dictating to mankind that new ideas need to be explored.

robartsd

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Re: Areas of the US most resilient to climate change?
« Reply #49 on: August 14, 2018, 01:22:21 PM »
The problem with future climate is not the averages, though.  It's the tail cases.  Consider a normal probability distribution curve like the one shown below.  Each weather event is a dot that falls somewhere under the big curve (the climate), but it's only the few cases out at the tail ends that people care about, extreme events like a "bomb cyclone" or heat waves/droughts/floods.



Those events happen at fixed values (of say temperature or rainfall amounts) represented by the vertical lines separating the light blue (happy weather) and dark blue (unhappy weather) regions.  Climate change gradually shifts the entire curve over to the right, but those vertical lines stay in the same place.  Because the distribution curve is taller in the middle than out at the ends, this shift means that the dark blue regions change in area pretty dramatically in response to small shifts of the curve.

In practice, this why extreme weather events like floods and heat waves happen so much more often in response to small changes in climate.  The extreme tail cases are much more sensitive.  No one even notices when a normal day is five degrees hotter than normal, but when the hottest day of the decade gets five degrees hotter people start to die.
Best explanation I've seen on the real dangers of climate change. Thanks Sol.