Is It Possible to Reduce the Extreme Weather Patterns, Such as Hurricanes?

od | aug 7, 2020

East Coast of North America has been hit by the first hurricane of the season, Isaias, as I write this blog. The extreme weather event brings me back in memory lane to my visit to South Dakota, U.S., in 2012, when I visited the west coast of the Missouri River during a scorching July heatwave.  

I was a guest at the invitation of Candace Ducheneaux of the Lakota Nation. 

Candace invited me based on viewing the documentary Blue Gold: World Water Wars, directed by Sam Bozo of California. The movie referenced our project Blue Alternative in which we focused on creating water resources by revitalizing Slovakia’s landscape.  

Candace wrote to me and described the issues their tribe was experiencing with their five million acres of arid landscape in South Dakota.

That’s how I came to learn about the context of the long-term series of droughts in the U.S. interior and realized the connection with more frequent and extreme occurrences of hurricanes on the East Coast.

When I got off the air-conditioned car into the prairie, I was left in shock by a penetrating heat. Temperatures soared to 120 oF. The dry, piercing wind was burning. My first thought was, what am I going to do with water here when it’s so dry?
As I became more familiar with the landscape, especially water erosion damage to the land, I began to realize the reasons for long-term droughts and increased heavy precipitation bringing torrential rains and flush floods. I saw the correlation with the more frequent and more extreme hurricanes on the U.S. East Coast.

In 2012 South Dakota was hit by record droughts, resulting in historic crop losses and the formation of a vast thermal island that shapes the cloud structure and the density of water vapor concentration in the atmosphere. Arid land gave away the fact that local aquifers are depleted.

On my subsequent visit to the Great Plains in May 2013, I experienced a historic flood. Rain notwithstanding, the arid ground was unable to absorb the vast quantities of rain, which ran off into flooded creeks down the Missouri River and out to the Gulf of Mexico without ever replenishing the aquifer.

It dawned on me how to restore lush greenery and soil fertility inland and, at the same time, alleviate the extremes of hurricanes in the East.

I told Candace, „If you want to have a land lush with vegetation and grazing animals, you have to work with experts and government officials i from the East Coast.
There is a drought in your territory, and you don’t have the money.
They have the money and excess water that hurts them (during more frequent extreme weather events).

If you create a sustainable water restoration program, you will get your water back and curtail the hot temperature patterns in your region. It will rain more in your state, and it will rain less on the East Coast. Lakota nation is going to experience less drought, and at the same time, East Coast states will encounter less flooding and flood damage. In practice, this means that you can realistically restore the damaged „biotic pump“ described by Russian scientists Gorskhov-Makarieva and show the world how to heal the earth. Your sustainable water program and land management projects will become the model for others.“

I was aware it was a bold idea to negotiate with the officials. This was confirmed at the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe meeting, where Candace and I have tried to offer a sustainable water program as a solution and a model of the economic prosperity of the Lakota People.
That’s when I said to Candace, „You’ll see what will happen on the East Coast. The East Coast will be hit by very dangerous hurricanes because their strength depends on the overheating of the inland, the interior of the U.S.

In late October 2012 , superstorm Sandy hit Atlantic Coast. Relentless rainfall and coastal surges coupled with high winds caused widespread coastal flooding.

I understand that in New England, rainfall increased by an average of 20-30%.
The states of New England states have excellent ecological programs in place. However, their problem goes beyond their borders. It needs a coordinated federal decision.

When I revisited South Dakota in May 2013, tornadoes destruction in addition to extreme precipitation and historical floods were ravaging the interior of the U.S., causing massive soil erosion and unnecessary stormwater runoff. It is clear there is a connection with cumulative groundwater depletion in the United States, pointing to the increased rate since the mid- nineteenth century.

Against this background, Jan Lambert and I began writing the Global Action Plan for the Recovery of Small Water Cycles and Climate, which was presented at the BIO4CLIMATE conference in Boston in 2015, followed by the American Action Plan, which we presented at the 2017 Lecture Tour.

Simply put, a drought in the interior US inland is a culprit behind increased frequency of hurricanes on the East Coast.

In other words, groundwater withdrawal drains water from the river basins out to the oceans, depleting aquifers, causing droughts. As a consequence, the excess water in the oceans, in addition to Anthropocene global warming exacerbate the extreme weather patterns and huricanes.

Restoration of small water cycles of interior U.S. territory will bring security and protection to this part of the country while reducing extreme weather events and increasing environmental safety.

The government and people of the United States should revisit and re-apply the successful lessons learned during the Civilian Conservation Corps project after the Great Depression.

Congress approved FDR’s work relief program in 1933 as a part of the New Deal. The stimulus package of ten million USD provided work for three million unemployed young men aged 18-25, who revitalized the country by working on environmental conservation projects. By the time the CCC program ended, the boys had planted more than 3.5 billion trees, halted soil erosion on more than 20 million acres, and developed more than 800 state parks. No matter where you live in the United States, you can see that CCC’s legacy continues today.

The value of the work completed by the CCC nationwide is estimated at $8 billion

My wish is that the countries in the world would be governed by actual politicians who are public servants, looking for common-sense solutions instead of rigid officials hiding behind the existing laws. If we do not act soon, people might find themself about 50 years from a collapse in the planet’s water system.

Food, water, biological, and climate security can be accomplished by retaining rainwater in depleted aquifers. Water recovery will restore the land and fight the droughts.

Climate change solutions can be pretty simple and straightforward, hiding in a plane view. Let us observe the small hydrological cycles. It does not have to be a complicated „smart“ resolution. It can be a pretty simple answer.

It turns out that some of the human-caused destructive processes in nature have already grown out of control. We are not able to connect the link between A and B.
Let us learn to apply the solutions that are simple, logical, and manageable within a framework of a short decade, not a long century.

As for Candace? She spearheaded Mni („Water“) conservation program to restore the hydrological cycles in the Cheyenne River Reservation.

Copyright: ©2020 Michal Kravčík
Photo Credit: Michal Krav
čík, Wisconsin Historical Society, NASA.  Translation: Zuzana Mulkerin