Global Warming is Here -- Climate change, also called global warming, is increasingly in our news. Although our region has been only minimally impacted to date compared to most of the world, the degree of future global warming activity in this region is not certainly known but very likely will increase.
A significant local linkage to global warming is the future adequacy of our federally designated Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie aquifer, the sole source of water for about 400,000 residents in the Spokane metro area and the adjacent Post Falls and Coeur d'Alene area. We should encourage more local actions both to help mitigate global warming and to minimize potential water deficits.
Science tells us that global warming is caused by the increasing concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases (about 50 percent carbon dioxide) that are absorbing more of the long-wavelength infrared energy radiated from the earth's surface. Some of the climatic changes predicted for our region are identified below:
More winter precipitation and warmer winters will result in more rain in addition to the normally heavy snowfalls at higher elevations.
Rain on the mountain snow, both in the winter and in the spring, will melt snow and cause flooding.
After the ground is saturated with water, water from heavier rainfall and from flooding will rapidly run off. Therefore, although the total precipitation in our watershed will increase, the water into our aquifer (recharge) may not increase.
The warmer winters and increased winter and spring rains will result in a smaller snowpack carried over into a warmer spring. This smaller snowpack combined with drier summers will result in reduced summer aquifer recharge and less water in the Spokane River.
The warmer and drier summers will call for increased water usage, but, the data published by Idaho in August 2000 shows that the recharge into our sole-source aquifer is now about equal to the water pumped out of our aquifer. The Volume of Actual Water Use from the aquifer increased about 28 percent from 1990 to 2000, and the local demand for more water is expected to continue. (Note: Because our Spokane Valley-Rathdrum Prairie aquifer is not adequately understood, there is bi-state support for a three-year, $3.5 million federally funded aquifer study. This study is NOT currently funded.)
The US Forest Service is "aggressively" planning more logging in our watershed. Trees not only store water for release during dry weather but also minimize flooding problems.
Without changes, it is probable that our area will have a serious water shortage possibly within a few years as the demand for aquifer water will continue to increase while the recharge of our aquifer is predicted to decrease.
Positive actions by residents should include the following: use less water; drive less to reduce your personal contribution to global warming; lobby for a moratorium on logging in our watershed until the aquifer study results are evaluated; lobby your elected officials to create a state-wide water conservation program and to encourage the development of alternative energies such as wind and solar; lobby your Congress people to take action to mitigate global warming.
The global and regional evidence and analyses of significant and accelerating climate change absolutely justify international, national and local actions. Your motivation for taking action depends on what future you want to leave for your children and for their children.
SPD Out of Hand -- We've got a problem when Spokane detectives get out of hand as they did with the recent entrapment operation against four young men, who were enticed by police into wanting sex with the police department's imaginary, horny young woman. Two of these young men were 22, and a third was 19.
Since when have some 19-year-old boys and 13-year-old girls not been fornicating together? I know that such relationships are not common, but they are common enough not to be considered a crime. A lonely 19-year-old boy on the Internet might do anything to follow that ancient urge if and when the police department's sexual imagination runs amok and sets out to titillate his sexual urges. I don't recall having much sense when I was young either, and then to have these older people preying on my sexual naivet & eacute;!
Further, why did the detectives' lustful imaginations choose such a borderline age to put up on the Internet to entrap these young men? Why didn't their imaginations come up with a 10-year-old girl rather than with a young teenage woman who, possibly, is already pubescent? If they had made the girl 10 years old, then I think their case would be less devious. Even a horny 19-year old would clearly know he was over the line. The detective's 13, maybe almost 14-year-old, young woman is very devious entrapment strategy, and these young men could be ruined forever because of following a lustful urge that detectives created.
Correction -- We made some mistakes in the story "Moscow to Moscow" (12/26/02) about University of Idaho researcher Dr. Vladimir Aizen and his glacier research. Bomi is a glaciation located in Southeast Tibet -- not in the Altai Mountains. After completing his PhD in Russia, Aizen did not attend but worked at Cambridge University and at UCLA. Aizen asked us to clarify that Tibet is a part of China, and that his initial research studying stable isotopes and geochemical concentrations took place in the Tien Shan Mountains. Finally, the photo of the ice-core drilling was taken at 4,500 meters of elevation, not 6,500 meters.