A Perfect Storm

perfect storm: a critical or disastrous situation created by a powerful concurrence of factors

Hurricane Barry could be called a perfect storm.

Hurricane Barry developed from a tropical storm into a hurricane because of higher than normal sea surface temperatures.

Sea surface temperatures are also running well above-average, with actual readings as high as 30 and 31 degrees Celsius.

Gulf of Mexico ‘Hot Tub’ Could Fuel Hurricane Season Toward Peak by Jonathan BellesJuly 20 2016 02:00 Tropical Update: Potential for Gulf of Mexico Development Next Week Increasing
By Caleb Carmichael – July 6, 2019, Nationa Hurricane Center

The elevated sea surface and air temperatures result in larger amounts of water added to the atmosphere, which then falls as significant amounts of rainfall. Over 10 inches of rain have fallen so far in New Orleans.

The Mississippi River was already above flood levels, barely contained by river levees. It looks like the river level will not overtop the levees despite the addition of water from the heavy rainfall and storm surge.

In addition to these affects, other problems have been developing for some time, including disappearing wetland, algae blooms and growing dead zones.

Coastal wetlands in the Mississippi Delta are disappearing. Many factors contribute to the stress placed on wetlands, including the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in the summer of 2010. But natural forces are at work as well—local sinking of the ground and accelerating rates of sea-level rise,2,4 which scientists expect to further accelerate due to climate change

Union of Concerned Scientists

Other problems related to climate change are the algae blooms and growing dead zones in the Gulf Waters. It is dangerous to even wade in the water of much of the coast.

Just off the coast of Louisiana, where the Mississippi River lets out into the Gulf of Mexico, an enormous algae bloom, fueled by fertilizer from Midwestern farm fields and urban sewage, creates an area so devoid of oxygen it’s uninhabitable to most marine life every summer. 

Nutrients like nitrogen from fertilizer and phosphorus from sewage act as a catalyst for algae growth. While algae are the base of the food chain for some fish, when these green plumes proliferate beyond what fish are capable of eating, their decomposition consumes much of the oxygen in the water. 

This year, historic rains and flooding in the Midwest have roiled farm fields and overwhelmed sewer systems, flushing a tremendous amount of nutrients into the Mississippi River and into the Gulf, spurring a remarkable amount of algae. While the agricultural runoff from farms — exempted under the Clean Water Act — is the main driver of the Gulf dead zone, Chicago’s sewage is the largest single source of phosphorus pollution. 

There’s a giant dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico — thanks in large part to pollution from Chicago – Chicago Tribune

And yet we have a Republican administration that not only denies climate change, but has eviscerated regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency that will result in increased pollution of land, air and water.

What we need now is an indigenous led Green New Deal.

“How to Indigenize the Green New Deal and environmental justice” — High Country News. https://www.hcn.org/articles/tribal-affairs-how-to-indigenize-the-green-new-deal-and-environmental-justice


This entry was posted in #NDAPL, climate change, Green New Deal, Indigenous, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

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