Climate Impact Report – 02/14

Quick Facts


Cities’ biggest obstacle to flood-proofing isn’t money, but the 50-year-old rainfall data


scientists studying wildfires, smoke, air pollution and climate change lived in or near the two towns largely affected by Marshall Fire


in the American Southwest has become so severe that it’s now the driest two decades in the region in at least 1,200 years

Key Facts Of The Day 2/14

Storms and Flooding

  • Extreme winter storms are connected to climate change and hurting businesses.

    • The second powerful winter storm of 2022 which hit a large swath of the country in early February impacted many types of businesses and exacerbated problems brought on by the pandemic.

    • Business at ProSource slowed way down with deliveries getting pushed into the next week, few customers visiting the showroom, and employees not being able to get to work one morning.

    • At Samuel and Sons in Hermitage what used to take mere days to get stainless steel products processed for their customers, now can take months.

  • As of Sunday, Memphis Light Gas & Water claims that power has been restored to 99% of customers.

    • As of Sunday night, there are still over 700 customers without power and over 300 outages.

    • The ice storm which knocked out power to over 240,000 people also caused nearly $14 million in damages.

    • In all, 534 trees were reported down throughout the storm.

    • The widespread outages also caused many to lose food.

      • The Tennessee Department of Human Services advised that current SNAP benefit holders who lost food during the outages can receive replacement SNAP benefits.

  • Cities’ biggest obstacle to flood-proofing isn’t money, but the 50-year-old rainfall data.

    • With changing rainfall dynamics, wastewater managers in many cities are struggling to figure out how to upgrade local infrastructure.

    • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) precipitation frequency data is supposed to tell everyone how often a certain amount of precipitation is likely to fall. This information is especially critical to municipalities as they design flood-resilient sewage systems, green spaces, and even roads.

      • Unfortunately, NOAA’s precipitation frequency data is quite outdated by as much as 50 years in some states.

      • The maps and figures produced by the precipitation frequency data are dependent on a series of precipitation reports, known as Atlas 14.

      • These reports intake data from weather stations throughout a state or region which are not always owned or operated by NOAA.

      • Due to these logistical hurdles, NOAA only updates Atlas 14 reports when states request and pay for them.

    • Many cities have begun partnering with local universities to do precipitation modeling. However, this model is only feasible in larger cities with connections to large university systems. Rural and smaller communities simply don’t have the resources and typically access to technology to make those estimates

  • Lewis and Clark County, Montana is updating its flood mitigation master plan after better modeling of flood impacts showed the need for improved infrastructure for flood mitigation.


  • As of Friday, 3,120 wildfires have burned 54,170 acres across the country.

  • As of Monday, the Emerald Fire in Laguna Beach, California is 90% contained.

  • The Sycamore fire broke out Thursday near Whittier and destroyed two homes and injured one person before it was fully contained.

    • On Friday, a man was arrested on suspicion of arson in connection with the blaze.

  • In Jackson, Mississippi dangerous wildfire conditions continue over the weekend.

    • Dry and windy conditions caused a high fire danger to start the weekend.

  • As many as 100 scientists studying wildfires, smoke, air pollution and climate change lived in or near Louisville and Superior, Colorado, the two towns where over 1,000 homes were destroyed due to the Marshall Fire.

Extreme Heat

  • The megadrought in the American Southwest has become so severe that it’s now the driest two decades in the region in at least 1,200 years, scientists said Monday, and climate change is largely responsible.

  • Incarcerated people face an increasing threat of extreme heat, fires, and floods.

  • Extreme heat in Northern Texas affects residents’ daily lives in some way or another.

    • Some said they stop playing sports, riding bikes and spending time outside.

    • Some claimed to have quit their jobs so they could work remotely, or so they could avoid having to drive in a certain direction during the hottest part of the day.

    • Others might not leave their home during the summer months or may refrain from cooking.

    • An increase in temperatures will hit North Texans of lower socioeconomic status hardest.

    • Asthma among children could also get worse because of an increase in ozone days.

    • Rising heat levels can lead to more lethargy and a decrease in time spent outdoors.

  • Farmers who grow the grapes for wine have seen the effects of climate change in the soil, in the roots of the vines and the yields of their crops.

    • France, a major center of winemaking for centuries, is experiencing increasingly higher temperatures and extreme weather conditions that have damaged vintages, and livelihoods.

      • France recorded its smallest harvest since 1957 and stands to lose more than $2 billion in sales.

      • Vine disease is getting worse all over France because of the rising temperatures.

    • Scorching temperatures and drought conditions contributed to wildfires in 2020 around Napa and Sonoma – the center of America’s wine industry.

    • In Australia, the bush fires of 2019 and ’20 burnt some vineyards to the ground while smoke ruined the quality of the grapes.

    • The warming atmosphere is also changing the grapes’ growth cycle by accelerating the ripening to the point that they’re picking earlier.

  • Government officials have declared koalas endangered across much of eastern Australia, citing the impacts of drought, bush fires and habitat loss on the country’s dwindling marsupial population.

    • Koala numbers have dropped dramatically in recent years, due to climate-driven weather events and rampant land-clearing for agricultural and urban development.

    • In the deadly bushfires in 2019 and 2020 about 60,000 koalas were killed, injured or affected in some way.

  • North American migratory birds appear to be shrinking in response to climate change.

New Reports And Data

  • A February 2022 study found that climate change can worsen the impact of invasive plants.

  • A February 2022 study found that wildfire and post-fire recovery could lead to more carbon being stored than released in the long term in savannahs and grasslands.

  • A February 2022 study found that prenatal exposure to mixtures of commonly found metals can adversely affect fetal growth.


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