The Drought of 2013-14 and Climate Change as of February 2014
By Stellar Snow
Running up the hillside, nearing the crest of the ridge, it was clear that it was very dry- more like summer or early autumn than January. The last time such unseasonable dryness was observed in the Rogue Valley was 1977- 37 years ago. Prior to the 1976-77 wet season, such persistent dryness in the wet season (calculated from October 1st onward) had only been recorded in Ashland in 1960 and never before in Medford and Grants Pass, going back to the 1910s. International Airport the month of September ranked 2nd wettest on record. This helped fire crews gain the upper hand on fires in the area, diminishing the smoke and improving the air quality across the region. Spring through autumn of 2013 had the most lightning ever recorded by the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center (NWCC), with records going back through the year 2000. In fact, the number of lightning strikes recorded in 2013 were double the annual average from 2000-2012.
2013 was truly a remarkable year for weather, which comprises climate, in our region and elsewhere on Earth. Climate records clearly indicate that the Earth has generally been warming as CO2 has continued to increase. This warming has accelerated since the late 1970s, as has global CO2 output from anthropogenic sources. Our local extremes in 2013 are clearly consistent with predictions from climate change scientists and climate models, as can be read in the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment. Extreme weather such as has been observed in 2013 puts increasing stress on our biota, to include humans, as we and other species are forced to adapt to survive and thrive. This stress can diminish survivability of some species and favor others, some of which may be invasive. Thus, as we move forward and our climate continues to react to the build-up of CO2 in our atmosphere, we are going to need to do increasingly more to adapt.
In our next post: December 2013’s record cold in portions of the Rogue Valley was also, indeed, exceptional. This will be discussed along with our ongoing snow drought and “Arctic Amplification”.
What can we do locally about climate change?
By Hannah Sohl
Published in Ashland Daily Tidings, January 13, 2014
If you are like me, the subject of climate change can be overwhelming. As extreme weather patterns plague our valley and other regions, many of us wonder, "What can we do?"
That's why a group of local residents, initiated by young people in Southern Oregon, has come together to identify constructive steps we can take as a community. As Rogue Climate, our goals are to help save and create jobs, reduce energy cost increases, strengthen local businesses, and preserve and improve our quality of life.
Are you interested about climate change? Do you love making art and fighting for solutions? Then come join us for our Rogue Climate Kick-off! We are a local grassroots organization that uses art and community to create the political momentum for real climate solutions... and we want YOU! Join us on January 16th at 6 pm in the Stevenson Union to find out who we are, what we do, and how you can get involved. We will have music, art and a burrito bar. Kids are welcome.
What: Rogue Climate Winter Kick Off
Where: SOU Stevenson Union Rm. Rm. 319, 1118 Siskiyou Blvd, Ashland
Who: Rogue Climate and Friends
RVSP: Stuart at: firstname.lastname@example.org; (541) 324-1009
Rogue Climate and SOCAN had a great showing at the recent Senator Merkley town hall meeting. See the Mail Tribune for his thoughts on climate change, carbon taxes, hydraulic fracturing (fracking), liquid natural gas in Oregon, and a number of other good topics Southern Oregonians are concerned about.
There were some wonderful moments and accomplishments this year--from the giant salmon in Medford, to Oregon Climate Action Day, to the fast for the Philippines. Take a minute to check out the slideshow celebrating this past year!