A BU earth and environment scientist talks about the trouble we should have seen coming and what could lie ahead.
Last week’s cross-continental deep freeze was a stunning weather event in what appears to be a cascade of extreme weather events, many of them highlighting a lack of preparedness by state and federal agencies. The most recent disaster triggered massive power blackouts in several states, shut down one-third of the country’s oil production, and paralyzed roadways across the South. At least 58 people died, more than half in Texas, where 2 million people lost power and 13 million needed to boil their water before drinking it.
Power blackouts also plagued hundreds of thousands of Californians last summer as that state experienced four of its five hottest August days in the last 35 years. California also saw nearly 10,000 wildfires last year that burned more than four million acres, a disturbing record.
The two events conspire to warn us that hotter summers and colder winters are the new norm. In fact, since 2000, according to the Department of Energy, that trend has increased weather-related power outages by 67 percent.
To learn more about the implications of that trend and what we can do to mitigate future damage, BU Today talked with Cutler Cleveland, a College of Arts & Sciences professor of earth and environment and associate director of the BU Institute for Sustainable Energy.
Click here to read more.