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The no-such-thing-as-global-warming people are shouting from the rooftops. See all that snow? Let’s get back to the business of smokestacks and oil and forget all this scientific mumbo-jumbo foolishness!

While less than an inch of snow outside my window quickly turned to slush the other day, I sent a nasty email to the programming director of the local NBC station.  I was home for the morning and wanted to watch the Today show but they preempted it with their "live storm-force coverage."  It wasn’t really anything exciting, just a typical New England snowstorm and most reporters really had nothing but slush to report.

"Storm-force coverage" had been appropriate for the recent severe storms that knocked us silly, causing wide-spread power outages all over the state and changing our coastal landscape.

The 2013 severe storms with record-breaking snow totals, high winds, rising tides and violent waves created breaks in barrier beaches along the coast making permanent changes to harbors, shorelines and destroying houses. Beachfront communities that have been sitting on shorelines and cliffs for generations have seen homes fall into the sea one after another.

The Cape Cod Times has had great coverage with videos of the breaks in various places along Chatham and the outer Cape. This article includes two videos of the Ballston Beach break in Truro.

I argued with a colleague recently; an ongoing disagreement that comes up when we are discussing alternative energy projects and efforts to boost our towns recycling numbers.

"Look outside," he said to me, "Look at that snow, how can you tell me there is such thing as global warming?"  

I suggested we take a walk on one of our beaches that have had access structures torn away.

We are well over our snow budget here in our little city, and the storm repairs are adding up. None of that is typical.

Let’s face it, we are dealing with a crisis. Global warming is real. Our coastal communities will continue to change. Some meteorologists insist the storms are just part of a cyclical pattern, but meteorologists were probably behind the local program director's decision to provide us with live full “storm force” coverage of two inches of snow that turned to slush within a couple of hours.

I'll go with the the scientists at NOAA for climate change interpretations, thank you. They recently released a report assessing the effects that climate change has had and will continue to have on our coastlines:

The recently-released report examines and describes climate change impacts on coastal ecosystems and human economies and communities, as well as the kinds of scientific data, planning tools and resources that coastal communities and resource managers need to help them adapt to these changes.

“Sandy showed us that coastal states and communities need effective strategies, tools and resources to conserve, protect, and restore coastal habitats and economies at risk from current environmental stresses and a changing climate,” said Margaret A. Davidson of NOAA’s Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management and co-lead author of the report. “Easing the existing pressures on coastal environments to improve their resiliency is an essential method of coping with the adverse effects of climate change.”

The full report is here:
Coastal Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerabilities: A Technical Input to the 2013 National Climate Assessment

Last year the ground never froze and annuals that don't typically survive the winter were alive and well in the spring.

This year it may be colder but the snow and storms don't bode well for the future of our coastal communities.

I trust the scientists. Clearly we can't rely on the groundhog.


Plum Island, MA

Plum Island, MA

Scituate, MA

Scituate, MA

Sandwich, Ma 2013 winter storm damage

2013 Chatham Beach Break

In memory of my father, a brilliant MIT engineer who years ago believed global warming was some far fetched hypothesis, but who studied and understood and grew to believe we were facing an uncertain future, that global warming was a real problem.  A man who was also a staunch Republican until George W Bush was his president and he realized that, perhaps, his children - and granddaughters - were right.  He got the chance to change his party registration,  vote for Obama in 2008, and live a few years with a Democratic President who he trusted and supported before he left the world.



UPDATE: Fri Mar 22, 2013 at  1:22 PM PT: Yep. It snowed. A lot.

Originally posted to 51 Percent on Thu Mar 21, 2013 at 03:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots and Massachusetts Kosmopolitans.

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