Science and BMPs help maintain business operations amidst climate change
From the moment changes were first modeled in 1967 to today, the Earth’s climate has been a hotly discussed topic sparking everything from scientific studies to Hollywood blockbusters. Climate change has dominated headlines as more and more anomalies pop up. We’ve contributed through this very newsletter: a few months ago we ran an article on California’s Wacky Weather and its 180 degree shift from drought to flooding within a few months. Since then, California has experienced unprecedented snow accumulation (blizzards in Los Angeles!) due to multiple atmospheric rivers.
Our Waterborne team has experienced this wacky weather first-hand as we’re working in the field. During a recent field study trip to Louisiana, our team traveling from the Midwest and Northeast had a rude awakening. Rather than the sunshine and short sleeve weather they had expected at this time of year, they experienced a week’s worth of daytime freezing temperatures and rain followed by ice storms that left the normally lush and green landscape encased by a healthy ice coating. The project’s station boxes hovered right around 35°F. It was a good thing the team packed their cold weather gear for their trip “to the sunny South”!
In addition to extreme weather conditions, we at Waterborne, with our scientific culture and dedication to solving puzzles, are also concerned about how this will impact the future of the agricultural world. Soil in the Midwest is eroding quickly, dashing previous estimates of how much soil had already been eroded. Since Euro-American took settlement approximately 160 years ago, midwestern fields have seen on average a loss of 2 mm of soil per year. This is equivalent to almost 57.6 billion metric tons of topsoil since tilling began approximately 160 years ago.
Which begs the question, how can one still run a profitable, environmentally mindful business in the midst of climate change? While the processes may vary by industry, we advise our clients to prepare for extremes and protect their businesses by implementing Best Management Practices. At first glance, BMPs may seem limited to operational challenges such as plant floods and worker shift shortages, but by proactively studying the bigger picture through a scientific lens, our clients have been able to better predict then protect profitability, no matter what’s happening outside. For example, drift, runoff, and erosion study work allow agricultural and manufacturing clients to safeguard crops and manufacturing processes alike. Further studies showing both small- and field-scale plots using irrigation, artificial rainfall as well as natural rainfall or monitoring sedimentation within a drainage pond as well as collected samples for analysis of suspended solids all tie back in with climate change and business continuity.
If the extreme weather changes have taught us anything in recent decades, it’s that the climate will continue to change and throw us curveballs. By taking steps to understand and plan for the risks and what if’s, we can rest a little easier and enjoy the roller coaster weather.