Thursday, November 23, 2017

Climate Change Will Cause More Disasters in California

The phrase “natural disaster” can be misleading. Disasters such are earthquakes, flood and fires are beyond human control. But that does not mean that humans have not played a role in how frequently these disasters occur and how much damage they cause. The case for and against the effects of climate change will continue to be argued for years, but as California Gov. Jerry Brown said recently "With a warming climate, dry weather and reducing moisture, these kinds of catastrophes have happened and will continue to happen.” In other words, in California, the ground realities of climate change are clear.

The Effects of Climate Change

The increase in the severity and frequency of wildfires in the state is alarming. Experts say that as long as global temperatures continue to rise, the problem will increase. While climate change is not what starts wildfires, the variations in temperature and rainfall that it causes contributes to how these fires develop and spread. In California, weather patterns over the last few years have created an ideal foundation for a devastating fire season which usually reaches full intensity in the month of October. There are 4 key factors involved:

   ·     The high temperature in summer months results in grass, bushes and trees being significantly drier by the time the fire season starts.

  ·     The dry winds from the interiors of the continent enable the fires to spread faster than they did before.

  ·     The higher temperatures also mean that the fire season will last for longer than it did in the  past.

  ·     There is more rain and snow during the winter. This may appear to be a factor that will help prevent fires, but it is not so. The higher precipitation in winter means that more vegetation will grow and grow faster. There will thus be more of it to dry out and burn when the fires start.

Improvement Will Take a Long Time

The Paris Climate Acord, which the U.S. is no longer part of, has set a limit of a 2 degree Celsius rise in global temperature by the year 2100. The amount of drying that such an increase will cause will require a huge amount of precipitation to counteract the drying out and the fire risk that will result. None of the existing scientific models predict such an increase. Till things change for the better, the risk of loss from fires will continue to rise.

The only protection for homeowners against the loss of this biggest investment in their lives and the one on which their family’s future depends is through insurance.Unfortunately, California has a large number of uninsured and under insured homes. The reasons for this are the cost of insurance and a common belief that disasters happen to the “other guy.” Saving a few dollars today may have a small impact on a family’s budget, but the loss of a home can destroy its hopes for the future. Finding the right insurance coverage at a cost that is viable, requires professional expertise. Talking to an insurance broker about home insurance needs will give homeowners the information they need to make insurance decisions that are in their family’s best interests.

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