Warm Southern Breeze

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Posts Tagged ‘Polar Vortex’

Economic Infrastructure Strained By Severe Weather And Climate Change

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Sunday, February 10, 2019

Increasingly, there’s a political tie-in to almost every news story published these days. And frankly, I’d much rather write about other, more benign, or even pleasant topics. But, these matters affect us all, and our very lives and livelihoods are at stake. So, because these are pressing matters, I give heed to them, as I hope you do also.

Recently, NPR News published a story while our nation was in the throes of the “Polar Vortex,” which is the name now given to a severe “cold snap” which plunged much of the Midwest and East into literally Arctic temperatures. In fact, as we we’re told by numerous meteorologists and other weather / climate scientists and researchers, the Arctic was actually warmer than many places affected, most notably including Chicago, the Twin Cities (Minneapolis–Saint Paul), Iowa, Pennsylvania, and other states up through the area, with some locales suffering from temperatures which dipped down into the -23ºF range, or lower. Many Low Temperature records were surpassed, and when combined with Wind Chill Factors, temperatures feel like at least double that (-40ºF), and more.

A Minnesotan is extremely bundled up protecting every square inch of exposed skin while awaiting public transportation outdoors during extremely dangerous cold conditions which occurred during the 2019 Polar Vortex.

By all estimates, it was one of the most severe such events in recorded history, and was also the cause of numerous deaths of people of all ages and sexes (21 at last count, not all who were homeless), due of course, to cold temperature extremes. Homeless shelters throughout the affected areas were literally accepting anyone and everyone, and numerous other organizations and agencies created emergency shelters for others to avoid the deadly conditions. Area residents were severely warned to avoid going outdoors at all costs, simply because inadequate dressing, or any exposed skin would certainly suffer frostbite, or worse.

But there was another, largely overlooked problem which was only given cursory attention. And that was the effects and strains the severe climatic conditions placed upon infrastructure, which is often called economic infrastructure.

Essentially, infrastructure describes a nation’s internal facilities that enable business activity, which are fundamental requirements for economic development, which is vital to improvements in a country’s standard of living, and consists of facilities, activities and services that assist to increase overall economic productivity at a national level.

Infrastructure has two broad component parts: 1.) Social Infrastructure, consisting of basic services such as education, training, including health, sanitation, potable water supply, housing, sewerage, etc., while; 2.) Physical Infrastructure directly supports economic production, and consists primarily of supporting the production and distribution of products and services including agriculture, industry, and trade, supports, and directly increases productivity.

An example of Physical Infrastructure would be the production of hydroelectric dams by the Tennessee Valley Authority, creation of electrical power, communication, and natural gas delivery grids, roads, waterways, airports and railways for transportation, and potable water and waste treatment plants and their related delivery mechanisms and systems.

All those components must not only be created and developed, but they must be continually maintained, and improved as necessary, to continue to provide services vital to the economy. And it is maintenance which proves frequently to be the Read the rest of this entry »

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