Recent Heat Waves Related to Global Climate Change, California Rain Cycle Affected

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Nicholas Hong

Sporadic climate changes are common in the state of California, but busy day-to-day life and activities that ignore the potential consequences on the changes of climate.   According to geography professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Catherine Gauiter, the recent heat waves, or increase in high temperature will bring about a huge toll in the near future.

A heat wave is more likely to occur in places that have larger land and are along the coast, such as Sacramento. A heat wave is characterized by hot and humid nights which will result in a change in the water vapors in the clouds, leading to more precipitation. The changes in climate cause natural disasters to occur as well, such as floods, rainstorms, and even forest fires as a result of high temperatures and dry soil in forests.

One of the most well known impacts that heat waves are causing is the natural supply of water deterring; these signs can be seen in the decreasing water levels and the change of the currents in rivers. In fact, the Department of Water Resources states that “the mountain snowpack provides as much as a third of California’s water supply.”

Because of high temperatures during the wintertime, the snow will melt faster on the mountains’ peaks and California will lose about 25 percent of our natural source of water. This will mean that California will have less water to use.

Gautier explains that with more precipitation coming from rain instead of snow, engineers need to figure out a way to shift rain water into a source of clean water, such as the as the water that is collected from reservoirs. In order to prevent erratic climate changes from destroying the Earth, Gautier also believes that, first, energy consumption must be reduced. One way to do this is to drive less or carpool, which would emit less greenhouse gases contributing to climate change, such as carbon dioxide, and will help prevent the ozone layer from thinning. By recycling, the amount of junk going into landfills is reduced, as well as the amount of greenhouse gases such as methane and carbon dioxide. Planting trees also helps the environment by emitting oxygen and taking in carbon dioxide, reducing the level of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.

For more information about climate changes you can reach Professor Gautier in the geography department at UCSB.

Professor Gautier explains that as a result of more precipitation coming from rain instead of snow, engineers need to figure out a way to shift rain water into a source of clean water, such as the as the water that we collect from reservoirs. In order to prevent erratic climate changes from destroying the earth we must first reduce energy consumption.  Also by driving less or carpooling we are emitting less harmful C02 gases which will help prevent the ozone layer from thinning. By recycling we are reducing the amount junk going into landfills and harmful gases such as methane and carbon dioxide from hurting our planet. Planting trees will also always help the environment, because they not only emanate oxygen but they take in carbon dioxide as well. Just by doing these simple steps we can reduce the amount of raw materials being dug up and the energy being consumed, and hopefully help the wildlife flourish. Professor Gautier also teaches a class called mock environmental summit (geography 135), which talks about an international perspective in proposing a representation to different countries as whole, how we can change our habits on fuel consumption. Each student has an opportunity to discuss their proposal on how to change these issues. For more information about climate changes you can reach Professor Gautier in the geography department in UCSB.

Photo courtesy of Gwenael Pinaser