Transcript

Deke Arndt, Chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch, National Climatic Data Center

It’s natural to associate drought with heat and with summer, but drought also impacts us during winter months. Winter wheat yields are declining, and the Mississippi River is approaching an all-time low. Understanding drought conditions and how they are affecting us is part of being “climate smart.”
 

At the edge of southern Louisiana sits Port Fourchon—the hub through which 20 percent of our nation’s oil and gas supplies are distributed to the rest of the country. The only road leading to and from this major port is the Louisana-1 Highway. A drive down the LA-1 through a vulnerable but vibrant coastal landscape shows what is at stake if ‘America’s longest main street’ fails to stay above water.

Port Fourchon services 90 percent of all deepwater activity in the Gulf of Mexico. Port Director Chett Chiasson tours the harbor while discussing climate adaptation and resilience.

Henri Boulet of the LA-1 Coalition and Tim Osborn of NOAA’s Office of Coastal Survey explain how engineers use climate data to plan for sea level rise and to keep the oil industry in business in Port Fourchon.

The mayor of the last inhabited barrier island in the Gulf describes how Grand Isle's dunes are Louisiana’s first line of defense against surging storms.

David Miller of the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development was one of the engineers given the task of determining how high to raise several miles of the Louisiana-1, or LA-1, highway. Climate data were essential for making sure that the roadway would last 75-100 years into the future.

Abundant shrimp, crabs, oysters, and access to the Gulf of Mexico make Fourchon Parish an attractive place to live and work. Windell Curole talks about his responsibilities for maintaining the levees that protect the parish from storm surge and rising seas.

 

Pecan and chili growers along the Lower Rio Grande can tap groundwater during droughts, but the aquifer water is salty and harmful to the soil over the long term.

We can’t immediately link Hurricane Sandy itself to climate change, says climate scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig, but the flooding damage we can. Partly due to global warming, sea level has climbed about a foot in the NYC area over the past century, giving storm surges a “step up” along the coast.

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