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The Effects of Climate Change are Swelling…




For some, climate change may seem like a back-of-the-mind issue, but reality shows that its prevalent consequences are already growing more familiar. From late July to early August of 2022, heavy rain engulfed communities in eastern Kentucky and broke records - with as much as 16 inches of rain falling on unprepared neighborhoods. Some experienced their highest level of rainfall in almost a hundred years. As of August 3rd, there have been at least 38 recorded fatalities so far. If climate change continues to intensify, human and natural loss will only get worse around the world.


This one-in-a-thousand-year flooding event may become more common. The infamous greenhouse effect, a direct result of increased greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere from natural and human activity, is responsible for accumulating heat from the sun and warming the Earth. A heated atmosphere facilitates more evaporation into the air, which holds more water droplets, so when it rains, it pours. This deluge is only exacerbated by areas that are naturally vulnerable to such effects, like the Appalachian region in Kentucky, whose tall mountains and impermeable rock create natural channels through which large amounts of water can flow quickly. The results are often devastating.


Heavier precipitation in the regions in and around Kentucky is anticipated to only increase, particularly during the earlier parts of the year, and human activity has only made the area more susceptible. For instance, the mining industry has artificially altered the landscape by compacting soil, degrading the shape of mountains, and removing trees. Given that the Earth doesn’t absorb large amounts of water easily, this creates a perfect storm for flooding. Furthermore, as the fate of the mining industry has declined, economic hardship in the region has grown, leaving many communities with little resources to prepare for increasing annual flooding costs. In order to mitigate these effects, the climate infrastructure of the past must pave way for the climate infrastructure of the future to anticipate and better manage worsening environmental conditions.


Citations

Scientists explain how the deadly flooding in Kentucky got so bad: 'It was bound to be catastrophic'

https://abcnews.go.com/US/scie...

Flood damage will increase due to climate change, will disproportionately affect poor communities: Study

https://abcnews.go.com/Interna...

Kentucky Floods Destroyed Homes That Had Been Safe for Generations. Nobody's Sure What to Do Next

https://time.com/6205977/easte...

Kentucky flooding: Gov. Andy Beshear wonders 'why we keep getting hit.' 4 experts explain

https://www.courier-journal.co...

Three Reasons Appalachia’s Risk of Deadly Floods Keeps Rising

https://www.scientificamerican...

Picture Source:

https://www.pexels.com/photo/c...



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