Skip to content

🔬 "The Climate & Water Management"

The Water Table

Photo by Steve Harvey / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Jamie Duininck
Guest: Paul Douglas | Founder & Chief Scientist | Climatrends
Category: 🔬 Research

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[1:43] “[We’re in] the worst drought for the western US in probably 20 years […]. I'm really concerned about the wildfire season, it's getting off to an early start. […] The West is really in the midst of a 1200 year mega drought. It's been exceptionally dry for the better part of a millennia. The past couple of 100 years have been a little bit wetter, giving people the false impression that […] this is the way it's always been and [that they]'ll have enough water. Well, some years maybe not so much.”

[3:44] “What we're really seeing is more climate volatility and that's leading to more weather disruption. […] The climate models 50 years ago said that wet areas will get wetter, dry areas will trend drier. And that's exactly what we're seeing in the data. Theory has become our new climate reality. […] We're seeing more of these extreme rainfall events, these downpours. The problem with that is […] much of the water runs off into streets and storm sewers and rivers. It isn't soaking into the soil where corn producers, soybean producers need that moisture. So when it does rain, it tends to rain harder. […] I miss average weather. We […] ricochet from one extreme to the next. And it reminds me of the old saying: If you have one foot in boiling water, and the other foot in ice water, do you feel average?

[7:46] “The seasons are shifting as you warm up […] the background temperature. We see the greatest warming signal during late winter and early spring, February and March. […] And springs from the Midwest to the East Coast and much of the South springs are trending wetter. […] Longer growing seasons, [with] warmth […] extending deeper into October, even November, […] [which] in theory [is] good news to help with the harvest, but that brings up some new problems when it comes to managing pests.”

[9:31] “I think it's getting harder to dismiss and deny the fact that something is happening and the most likely conclusion is it's because of the warming that we're seeing. In the US it's an average of about two degrees. But Northern tier states, Washington, Montana, Minnesota, Maine, Michigan, the M states, more like three four degrees warming since the mid 1800s. And a warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, simple physics, more fuel. When it does rain, that rain comes down harder, and much of it is going to be running off. And that again is a threat, [but also] it's an opportunity for companies […] how [to] look at managing water, excess water, not enough water. How do we make sure we have the water we need in an increasingly fickle and volatile pattern?

[13:45] “The need for water is not going away anytime soon. And the need to manage water will never go away. And I think the need is going to be amplified in the years to come. We're just getting a taste of what's to come. This is the tip of the iceberg. The rapidly melting iceberg. Managing water, whether it's rising sea levels for coastal areas, increased flooding for much of the eastern and central US and increased drought and just managing water, preserving water in the western US. We can't make assumptions, the assumptions we made in the 20th century. We just can't make those same assumptions this century.”

[16:13] “I'm still an optimist, […] but we need that everything we do has to be water resilient. Drought proof, flood tolerant. The assumptions we made in the 1960s and 1970s, are changing. And it's a brave new world out there. And we need companies […] that have the intellectual capital, and the engineering prowess to make sure that no matter what Mother Nature throws at us, we have a solution. […] My hope is that those innovations come here in the United States, and that we don't sit on our hands and debate the science to the point where China and Finland and other nations eat our lunch, and they are the ones that have the solutions.”

[20:26] “People are afraid of […] change. But I think all of us need to embrace change and understand that we have the technology to solve this challenge or to avoid a worst case scenario. And I think we disagree about a lot of things these days politically, I think the one thing we can agree on is we love our kids. We love our grandkids. Why would we do anything to make it harder for our kids and our grandkids? And by ignoring this or denying it or saying it's some sort of a plot, a scheme to enlarge the government, we're making it harder for our kids. The solutions will not come from big government, the solutions will come from thousands of entrepreneurial American companies who rise up and provide the solutions we need.”

Rating: 💧💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify
🕰️ 22 min | 🗓️ 08/03/2021
✅ Time saved: 19 min