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Floods have wreaked havoc on communities since time immemorial, and play a significant role in the mythologies of disparate cultures, ranging from the Gilgamesh of ancient Babylon to Popol Vuh of the Mesoamerican Mayans. But while floods seem to have been prevalent in humanity’s misty past, they may play an even more prominent role in our future. (more…)
The polls open today, October 25th, in Madagascar, and some hold hopes that they will close five years of instability. A military-backed coup in 2009 led by Andry Rajoelina ousted then President Marc Ravalomanana. The international community condemned the coup and swiftly instituted sanctions. Ongoing instability and international isolation has since dramatically increased the vulnerability of the island, with some 92% of the population now living below the poverty line. The elections, the first in five years, offer an opportunity to reverse an otherwise downward trend. But there are natural forces to contend with as well. (more…)
If you have not already read Nancy Colleton’s new piece in the Washington Post’s Capitol Weather Gang, “Weather Data: a national security priority,” it’s worth a look. In the piece Colleton, who is President of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, lays out the need for better forecasting and weather data collection capabilities and why this is a matter of national security, especially in the face of a changing climate where extreme weather events are likely to be more frequent and intense. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. (more…)
We know that climate change will bring more frequent and intense extreme weather events. Less discussed is the likelihood that very different types of extreme events, sometimes within a very short span of time, are increasingly likely to occur in the same place. In particular, widely varying water-related events – whether there is too much water or not enough, could become a destructive, see-sawing norm. Below is a look at three locations around the world currently making headlines for having to manage both drought and flood extremes, all in a very short period of time. (more…)