The sneezin’ season

The maple is leafing out nicely.

I’ve seen it twice now, at the NPR website and in the AARP Bulletin, so it must be true: Allergy season is getting worse.

(I’ve also seen it in our Kleenex consumption, if you’re looking for empirical evidence.)

The gist of it is that warmer temperatures mean your sneezing starts earlier in the spring and lasts longer come fall. And the hotter the climate, the bigger the pollen output.

“This is another unintended consequence of climate change that hasn’t been explored that much,” says Allison Steiner, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Michigan and an author of the study. “It has a big impact on human health.”

Warmer and drier also means more fires, and we have several going on at the moment, the worst of them down at Ruidoso. The McBride Fire has taken more than 200 homes and at least two lives, and thousands are under evacuation orders. There was zero containment as of last night.

“But it’s not even fire season yet!” you exclaim. You’re looking at last year’s calendar, Hoss.

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7 Responses to “The sneezin’ season”

  1. Pat O’Brien Says:

    It seems it’s always fire and allergy season around these parts. I sure as hell ain’t looking forward to May and June. Do you think the Rio Grande and Colorado rivers will dry up at the same time?

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      The outlook ain’t good, Bubba. Federal water managers say they can keep the Rio flowing, if the weather will only cooperate.

      Ed Kandl, a hydrologist with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, said warmer temperatures will affect supplies, but relief could come if summer monsoons develop. “We’ll just have to see what happens,” he said.

      Meanwhile, over at the Moab Sun News, Eric Kuhn has some ideas about what might happen.

      One hundred years ago, we had some flexibility because the river was not very well-used. Today, not a drop of the Colorado River reaches the Gulf of California, so we don’t have that luxury. The way I look at it is: we legally allocated water based on an assumption that this river system had about 20 million acre-feet. Today, we think it’s more like 13, and it might be less in the future with climate change. Predictions and models show that increasing temperatures are going to reduce flows to the Colorado River. The drama is not how much water we’re going to have in the future — we know it’s going to be less. The drama is how we’re going to decide who gets less water, and when.

      We should probably start filling the sinks, tubs, and cisterns … um, yesterday.

      • khal spencer Says:

        Achoo. Excuse me. Knew I shoulda bought stock in Kleenex, Inc.

        Last I saw, some water prognosticators were suggesting we might have to plan on less than 11 million acre feet in the Colorado River. Can’t find the original, but some here:

        “…Climate scientists who study and project the Colorado’s flows as the region warms believe even 11 million acre-feet could be wishful thinking. Some studies suggest heat’s toll on the water supply will drop the river to just 9 million acre-feet in coming decades, said Brad Udall, a Colorado State University researcher who has focused on the river for 20 years.

        “I could live with 11” as a planning guideline, even if it’s optimistic, Udall said. That projection is stark enough to require bold action that water managers could later build upon. It would follow the trajectory that scientists like Udall say represents the region’s heat-induced aridification, as opposed to temporary drought….”

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        John Fleck is my go-to dude on stuff like this. Last month he had an extended piece on the Colorado River Compact at 100.

        One thinks about how we responded to COVID and wonders how we might respond to this.

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        To riff on David Suzuki, too many people, with too many straws, using too acre feet, too fast. Down here the prediction has changed from 100 years worth of water in the aquifer to 70. Hello, that’s one generation golf fans. It didn’t even make the local news.

  2. Herb from Michigan Says:

    Shit the bed William! Not even fire season and homes and lives are gonesville. This ain’t good my friends. My extended family says there are fires popping up all over the front range in Colorado. Lord I hate to rub salt into the cuts but we had an all day soaking rain (again) here in the Mitten State. But might get a little snow in a few days so Spring is a comin on tardy.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      It’s way too early for this shit. It’s probably why everything seems to be flowering at once.

      “It’s now or never, gang! Bloom or burn! Pistils and stamens, ho!”

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