Human factor, record heat should be linked

A recent article about record-breaking heat fails to clarify that record-breaking heat waves are likely related to human-driven climate change. Instead, the entire piece ignores the relevance of humanity’s impact on the environment, completely sidestepping this global issue that should be of concern for all.

Avoidance of the topic is reflected by the title of the piece, which contains a quote from meteorologist Gerald Meadows stating that the upcoming heat “is not normal.” The reality is that this weather is the new normal.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) released a new Science Fact Sheet in March 2021, which states that: “human-caused changes to the climate have been found to be a primary driver of many events, particularly heat-related events” (NOAA Science Council 2021). It is critical to acknowledge potential human culpability in heat extremes across the globe.

Major fossil fuel companies carry on a modern campaign to misinform the public about the realities of climate change, and as responsible citizens, we have a duty to do the opposite. This article needs to make an explicit connection between the possible human factor of the upcoming record-breaking heatwave and the climate change that has made such weather the new normal.

Hannah Ellsworth


Water export decisions require investigation

Re “California Drought sharpens perpetual water conflict”; Commentary, Dan Walters, June 15, 2021

Thank you for the excellent article setting the table for what’s coming politically, legally and in reality.

I think one paragraph deserves more elaboration. You state that “the export limit’s effect on Southern Californian water users would be relatively scant because reservoirs in that region are fairly full.” I have verified this. How interesting that up north, Oroville is currently at 35% and Shasta at 41%, according to the state’s Daily Reservoir Storage Summary.

I watch this report every day and have been appalled at the rate of outflow versus inflow this spring at the two reservoirs, despite water managers’ full knowledge of the poor snowpack and record low rainfall. It leads me to wonder whether state and federal water managers acted to release and fill the Southern California reservoirs before the public, especially in Northern California, awakened to the true shortages.

We are now seeing draconian restrictions being applied to historical water rights holders: municipalities and agriculture. Los Angeles Basin reservoirs essentially are full and Oroville and Shasta are well under 50%. It “is water under the bridge,” yet something does not seem right or transparent about it.

We have relatives in the Los Angeles area who seem oblivious to the dire situation at the source and are not conserving — or being instructed to.

I think this needs some strong media inquiry and explanation from officialdom regarding the export decisions and timing during this extreme drought.

James Batchelder

Santa Rosa

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