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Author Topic: Flooding of Ellicott City???  (Read 1359 times)

JoeKitchen

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Flooding of Ellicott City???
« on: May 28, 2018, 08:21:33 PM »

I noticed an interesting topic posted here today from another member of this forum and did not initially respond due to the holiday's busy schedule.  During my travels today, I brought this story up with two other people, who are both ardent environmentalists, only to get responses I certainly was not expecting.  I came home today wanting to share those responses only to find the topic was closed by the author, but I will not be deterred. 

Now one can use this story as a blatant example of the problems associated with climate change.  But we need to ask ourselves, is it really, or would that conclusion stem from a bias obscuring our cause and effect analysis? 

Although I do believe in climate change, I do not necessarily attribute it to the cause of all environmental disasters. 

The first person I brought this story up with was my soon to brother in law, who is an architect and lived in MD.  We had an extremely brief conversation and his take was that this is a great example of poor city and county planning and the fact that the city is located between two hilly areas.  This was the extent of our conversation before food was served. 

Later on, I was speaking to my brother, who is as far to the left as you can possibly be, works in politics in PA, and often is ready (without any thought) to attribute any severe weather event to climate change.  So when he too attributed this more to poor planning, I was initially surprised. 

From what he read and heard from other environmentalists, this situation is due to over development of land up hill of the city.  The elevated sections of the city have been paved over with traditional concrete and asphalt producing very little ground absorption and severe run-off as a result. 

So, although it is daunting that Ellicott City is experiencing more flooding today then yesterday, we need to make sure that we do not blind ourselves from the effects of over-development and just automatically attribute flooding to climate change. 

It is certainly caused a bit form both over-development and climate change, but which one has had the greater effect?  It perhaps may be best to get a landscape architect's and environmental engineer's opinion on this before coming to any personal conclusions. 
« Last Edit: May 28, 2018, 08:30:06 PM by JoeKitchen »
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Two23

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Re: Flooding of Ellicott City???
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2018, 09:40:36 PM »



From what he read and heard from other environmentalists, this situation is due to over development of land up hill of the city.  The elevated sections of the city have been paved over with traditional concrete and asphalt producing very little ground absorption and severe run-off as a result. 



That has definitely been the cause of some local flooding here.  The city is now trying to scale back some paving and has been adding holding ponds with controlled release to try and mitigate all the new land that's been developed.  In another problem, there is talk about towns on the Mississippi delta being submerged as oceans rise.  Maybe to some degree, but two other major factors are the channelization of the river which inhibits the build of silt/land in the delta, and oil & gas pumping offshore which seems to have caused some of the nearby land to actually sink.  Things are often more complicated than a simple answer gives.
https://www.livescience.com/4186-real-reason-louisiana-sinking.html

There was another discovery that Lake Superior is losing some of its depth.  Environmentalists quickly blamed increased temperatures causing less winter ice cover, leading to more evaporation.  That may be a contributing factor, but the main cause was recently determined to be the earth's crust below the lake beginning to rebound from all the weight.  I.e., the water isn't getting lower, the lake bottom is getting higher. :)
https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0380133094711588


Kent in SD
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LesPalenik

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Re: Flooding of Ellicott City???
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2018, 09:45:49 PM »

They say that in 2016 in Ellicott City they had a once every 1,000-year flood and just two years later they got another. Good example of the poor planning, overdevelopment and prioritizing short term tax income over the long term sustainability.

It happens everywhere. Ray has pointed out this lunacy happening also in Australia.

https://www.manitobacooperator.ca/news-opinion/news/warming-climate-will-put-millions-more-at-risk-from-river-flooding/

David Sutton

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Re: Flooding of Ellicott City???
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2018, 09:55:19 PM »

They say that in 2016 in Ellicott City they had a once every 1,000-year flood and just two years later they got another. Good example of the poor planning, overdevelopment and prioritizing short term tax income over the long term sustainability.

It happens everywhere. Ray has pointed out this lunacy happening also in Australia.

https://www.manitobacooperator.ca/news-opinion/news/warming-climate-will-put-millions-more-at-risk-from-river-flooding/

Absolutely.
As far as climate change goes, I think we have to be a little more patient to see its real effects. That's a train still coming down the track.
In the mean while, most flooding events we see around the world are not so much poor planning as a combination of no planning and greed.
When you log upstream of cities, or pave over catchment areas above urban centres, what can you expect?
The floods I've seen date from land clearance in the 1980s. YMMV. Cheap money hasn't helped either I guess.
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Robert Roaldi

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Re: Flooding of Ellicott City???
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2018, 10:51:01 PM »

I bet that the planning regulations needed to guard against these things are probably viewed by many as government red tape that needs to be removed. Who needs those pesky regulations.

The spring of 2017 brought major flooding to many areas near Ottawa Canada. One developed spit of land near Rockland saw damage to many homes, and not just basement flooding but main floor as well. I drive past that spot frequently and often thought that it was odd that people would be permitted to build there, and most of the houses were constructed recently, say, in the last 20-25 years judging by their appearance. During the floods, local news reports dug up photos from the previous worst flood and it only happened 40 years ago, well within the memory of many people living in the area.

You wouldn't think that it would be necessary to keep re-learning the same lessons. I guess nobody is reading the archives.
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Two23

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Re: Flooding of Ellicott City???
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2018, 12:01:46 AM »

I bet that the planning regulations needed to guard against these things are probably viewed by many as government red tape that needs to be removed. Who needs those pesky regulations.


My small city is surrounded on three sides by a small Western-sized river as it loops around.  In spring the snowmelt can be awesome!   Instead of building dikes all along the river, the city has denied all building permits to the flood plain, and bridges have to be wide and tall enough to not impede flood water.  The land has been put to use as soccer fields, first rate bike paths, and other recreational activity.  It does flood from time to time but in the ~30 years I've lived here there's been no damage.  Just muddy bike trails. :)


Kent in SD
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LesPalenik

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Re: Flooding of Ellicott City???
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2018, 12:06:27 AM »

Simple and effective1

PeterAit

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Re: Flooding of Ellicott City???
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2018, 08:26:42 AM »


Although I do believe in climate change, I do not necessarily attribute it to the cause of all environmental disasters. 


What you say is true - climate change is not the cause of all evil! But let me point out that it is inappropriate to say you "believe" in climate change. It's like saying you "believe" in gravity, evolution, or the heliocentric solar system.
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RSL

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Re: Flooding of Ellicott City???
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2018, 08:49:31 AM »

Peter's got a good point. Climate is always changing. Where "belief" comes in is when a group with a political agenda uses always changing climate to promote a religious belief in coming catastrophe that only government action can prevent.

BartvanderWolf

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Re: Flooding of Ellicott City???
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2018, 10:27:56 AM »

I noticed an interesting topic posted here today from another member of this forum and did not initially respond due to the holiday's busy schedule.  During my travels today, I brought this story up with two other people, who are both ardent environmentalists, only to get responses I certainly was not expecting.  I came home today wanting to share those responses only to find the topic was closed by the author, but I will not be deterred. 

Now one can use this story as a blatant example of the problems associated with climate change.  But we need to ask ourselves, is it really, or would that conclusion stem from a bias obscuring our cause and effect analysis? 

Although I do believe in climate change, I do not necessarily attribute it to the cause of all environmental disasters.

Hi Joe,

You are correct. Isolated cases like this cannot directly be linked to Climate Change. They are 'just' weather events. Only if there is an emerging pattern of similar events, perhaps with increasing intensity, it adds to the probability of it being part of a larger scale change.

Quote
The first person I brought this story up with was my soon to brother in law, who is an architect and lived in MD.  We had an extremely brief conversation and his take was that this is a great example of poor city and county planning and the fact that the city is located between two hilly areas.  This was the extent of our conversation before food was served. 

Later on, I was speaking to my brother, who is as far to the left as you can possibly be, works in politics in PA, and often is ready (without any thought) to attribute any severe weather event to climate change.  So when he too attributed this more to poor planning, I was initially surprised.

This is often one of the factors that do affect (local) climate change as well, a change in land-use. Sometimes dramatically by deforestation or the planting of different crops, sometimes in over-paving parts of the soil that could otherwise absorb some of the rainfall. In addition, one might be creating "Heat-island" effects.  In my community, we are preparing for expected (and already observed) more intense rainfall events, by e.g. de-coupling roof gutters from dumping the rainwater in the sewer system, but leading it into intermediate storage tanks and in unpaved gardens instead. This year alone, we've locally had three days with an amount of rain in one day, that would normally only fall in weeks/a month, and it's not even the end of springtime.

Quote
From what he read and heard from other environmentalists, this situation is due to over development of land up hill of the city.  The elevated sections of the city have been paved over with traditional concrete and asphalt producing very little ground absorption and severe run-off as a result. 

So, although it is daunting that Ellicott City is experiencing more flooding today then yesterday, we need to make sure that we do not blind ourselves from the effects of over-development and just automatically attribute flooding to climate change.

Correct, there are multiple factors at play.
 
Quote
It is certainly caused a bit form both over-development and climate change, but which one has had the greater effect?  It perhaps may be best to get a landscape architect's and environmental engineer's opinion on this before coming to any personal conclusions.

A lot depends on the local circumstances, but watch for the trends over 11-year or longer multi-decadal periods, and it soon becomes apparent if Climate Change is to blame (and thus human burning of fossil fuel).

Cheers,
Bart
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BartvanderWolf

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Re: Flooding of Ellicott City???
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2018, 10:37:06 AM »

Peter's got a good point. Climate is always changing.

But never before at the change rate we are witnessing now.

Cheers,
Bart
« Last Edit: May 29, 2018, 10:44:29 AM by BartvanderWolf »
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Robert Roaldi

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Re: Flooding of Ellicott City???
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2018, 10:40:53 AM »

Peter's got a good point. Climate is always changing. Where "belief" comes in is when a group with a political agenda uses always changing climate to promote a religious belief in coming catastrophe that only government action can prevent.

I feel the need to comment on this post.

In other (climate change) discussions, you have indicated many times what a waste of time it was for (Alan Goldhammer, among others) to start those threads. You often make comments about what a waste that thread and others were, and you sometimes do so from the shelter of other unrelated threads. Even in threads that were started with the stated purpose of only posting scientific links for info purposes, even in those threads, you persisted in making condescending remarks without ever presenting rebuttal science.

And now YOU enter this fray and make an exaggerated off-topic condescending remark.
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RSL

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Re: Flooding of Ellicott City???
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2018, 10:58:43 AM »

But never before at the change rate we are witnessing now.

Cheers,
Bart

Thanks, Bart. You just illustrated what I was talking about. You're not really witnessing anything. You're getting "data" from questionable sources and results from questionable computer algorithms that generate pretty graphs. Those are what you're "witnessing." The real question is what political bias is behind what you're witnessing.

RSL

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Re: Flooding of Ellicott City???
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2018, 11:00:32 AM »

I feel the need to comment on this post.

In other (climate change) discussions, you have indicated many times what a waste of time it was for (Alan Goldhammer, among others) to start those threads. You often make comments about what a waste that thread and others were, and you sometimes do so from the shelter of other unrelated threads. Even in threads that were started with the stated purpose of only posting scientific links for info purposes, even in those threads, you persisted in making condescending remarks without ever presenting rebuttal science.

And now YOU enter this fray and make an exaggerated off-topic condescending remark.

Yeah, Robert. I'm a really mean guy, especially when I'm dealing with political bullshit.

PeterAit

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Re: Flooding of Ellicott City???
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2018, 11:46:35 AM »

Peter's got a good point. Climate is always changing. Where "belief" comes in is when a group with a political agenda uses always changing climate to promote a religious belief in coming catastrophe that only government action can prevent.

Don't be any dumber than you have to, Russ. I should have said "anthropogenic climate change."

And what is this "group with a political agenda?" Is it the thousands of expert climate scientists who meet once a year on the moon to plot the takeover of the world? Do you have any idea how silly you sound? 99% of scientists don't give a rat's ass about political power.

Given that you don't have a clue about the science involved, or how science works in general, I suggest you stay out of these discussions to avoid making a (further) fool of yourself.
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RSL

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Re: Flooding of Ellicott City???
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2018, 12:06:31 PM »

In other words, Peter, you believe there's a "scientific consensus" that our changing climate bodes disaster for the future. It may be that 99% of scientists don't give a rat's ass about political power, but, if you know anything at all about science you'd know you need evidence upon which to base that kind of estimate, and there's no such evidence around.

In the eighties, when I was doing software engineering I was approached at least monthly by a group claiming to represent the vast majority of scientists. Just off hand I don't remember what their program was at the time. I think it had something to do with nuclear weapons. But whatever their program was, they wanted me to join with them in their political actions.

All I can say about that is that anyone who believes there's such a thing as "scientific consensus" is a good deal dumber than I am.

BartvanderWolf

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Re: Flooding of Ellicott City???
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2018, 12:43:15 PM »

Thanks, Bart. You just illustrated what I was talking about. You're not really witnessing anything. You're getting "data" from questionable sources and results from questionable computer algorithms that generate pretty graphs. Those are what you're "witnessing." The real question is what political bias is behind what you're witnessing.

I'm witnessing this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rEbE5fcnFVs
(And yes, it is also measurable where I live).

And annual record high temperatures for one central weather station located in my country:
http://weergegevens.nl/extremes_y.aspx?station=260&extreem=TG&order=1&country=3&iscomplete=False&include=True
and the decadal records (almost all of which are record highs rather than lows):
http://weergegevens.nl/extremes_dec.aspx?station=260&extreem=TG&order=1&maand=1&decade=1&country=3&iscomplete=True&include=True

Politics play no role in objective observations.

Cheers,
Bart
« Last Edit: May 29, 2018, 01:12:10 PM by BartvanderWolf »
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Rand47

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Re: Flooding of Ellicott City???
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2018, 01:21:19 PM »

I still don’t get what all the argumentation is about? Especially for you materialist/naturalists. The species Homo sapiens is altering the ecosphere.  The “planet” will survive.  Whether Homo sapiens does or not is of little (actually no) significance other than it being the preference of any given species.  And preference is surely too strong a word in a world/universe in which all effects are merely results of previous events equally determined by previous events, and so on, back to the Big Bang.   All this discussion is much like fleas arguing over whose dog it is.

Rand
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BartvanderWolf

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Re: Flooding of Ellicott City???
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2018, 01:45:00 PM »

All this discussion is much like fleas arguing over whose dog it is.

We only have one dog, and it looks like it's developing an allergic reaction that slowly kills large numbers of us.
A risk better avoided before it becomes unavoidable, or unaffordable to turn around.

Cheers,
Bart
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Rand47

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Re: Flooding of Ellicott City???
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2018, 02:03:43 PM »

We only have one dog, and it looks like it's developing an allergic reaction that slowly kills large numbers of us.
A risk better avoided before it becomes unavoidable, or unaffordable to turn around.

Cheers,
Bart

Other than your very natural preference that humans don’t go extinct, what difference does it make to a completely indifferent universe, where life itself is an accident of unguided events.  Honest question.

Rand
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