Sneaking in another Friday Floods post, this time perfectly coinciding with Earth Science Week and Blog Action Day‘s focus on Water. My offering for this day is actually a guest post at AGU’s Geospace blog, where I had the privilege of getting a sneak preview of a paper in press in Geophysical Research Letters. Here’s a teaser:
The number of flood deaths in Africa has gone from fewer than 2000 in 1950-1969 to more than 15,000 between 1990 and 2009. In addition, the number of lives affected and the amount of economic damage have dramatically increased.
What’s behind this trend? Is it a reflection of climatically-driven increases in the intensity of precipitation and magnitude of floods? Is it simply that there are more people in Africa now to be affected by floods? Or are there socio-economic patterns at work that have magnified flood risks?
Of the various water-related posts I’ve read today, the one that sticks out in my mind as an absolute must-read is this post on Columbia University’s Earth Institute blog about the crucial connections between water and energy. Lakis Polycarpou does a fantastic job of laying out these connections under the following headings: “The way we use water consumes energy. Conventional energy production is crucially dependent on abundant supplies of freshwater. The quest for new sources of cheap, abundant energy threatens existing water sources. Use of fossil energy is warming the climate—which disrupts the water cycle and threatens both water and energy resources.” Read it.
Finally, after educating yourself with the posts above, take action. Blog Action Day encourages you to sign their petition for an international water treaty to provide clean water everywhere and to donate to charity: water or water.org. Or if you want to raise water awareness and bring water science to public school kids, consider giving money to some of the water related projects in our DonorsChoose challenge. Wouldn’t it be great if today was the day we helped bring a groundwater model to kids in Charlotte? Or boots and waders for stream science labs in Missouri? Or materials for teaching the water cycle and water quality to students in San Francisco? None of those projects needs more than $200 to become reality. Even donations of $5 or $10 will go a long way toward real action on blog action’s water day.