This documentary, "Weathering the Future," explores the growing impact of extreme weather events on communities across the United States. Produced by NOVA and PBS, the documentary examines how climate change contributes to more frequent and severe weather events such as wildfires, floods, and droughts. The documentary highlights the urgent need to act on climate change and take steps to protect against the impact of extreme weather.
The Impact of Extreme Weather
Extreme weather events are taking a toll on communities across the United States. The documentary shows how wildfires, floods, and droughts have become more frequent and severe in recent years, causing significant harm to homes, infrastructure, and natural resources. Many scientists believe these extreme weather events will become even more frequent and severe as the planet continues warming.
The documentary features interviews with people directly impacted by extreme weather events. For example, Mehul Patel, the executive director of operations for the Orange County Water District, discusses how the ongoing drought in California has created critical drinking water shortages for millions of people. Shirell Parfait-Dardar, a resident of Louisiana, describes how her community has lost land and homes to rising sea levels and increasingly severe storms.
Overall, the documentary shows how extreme weather events disrupt every aspect of people's lives, from their health and safety to their access to basic resources like water and food.
The Role of Climate Change
Many scientists believe that global warming is the underlying cause of the growing impact of extreme weather events. The documentary explains how rising temperatures are agitating the entire weather system, dramatically impacting the cycle of evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. The hotter it gets, the drier it gets. The drier it gets, the hotter it gets. This feedback loop leads to extreme drought conditions in some areas and more intense storms in others.
The documentary features interviews with experts who discuss the role of climate change in contributing to extreme weather events. For example, Brian Stone Jr., a city and regional planning professor at Georgia Tech, describes how the climate is "wacko" and experiencing a "system shift." John Morales, a chief meteorologist in Florida, notes that the number of extreme weather events is multiplying and that he has never seen anything like it in his 30 years of covering the weather.
Solutions for Mitigating the Impact of Extreme Weather
The documentary also explores solutions for mitigating the impact of extreme weather events. The documentary highlights how communities nationwide are already fighting back and finding solutions, demonstrating resilience, resourcefulness, and creativity in the face of extreme change.
One solution highlighted in the documentary is planting trees to provide shade and absorb heat from the environment. Na'Taki Jelks, an environmental health scientist at Spelman College, equips students with portable sensors to collect temperature data on the street. Her measurements show that neighborhoods with more asphalt and concrete and less vegetation are the hottest. By planting trees and other vegetation, cities can substantially cool themselves down and reduce the impact of extreme heat on their residents.
Another solution highlighted in the documentary is the recoating of roads with a special sealant that reflects about 35% of the sun's energy. This reduces the energy absorbed by the asphalt and reradiated as heat, resulting in cooler temperatures. Phoenix, Arizona, has committed over $7 million to plant drought-tolerant trees and recoating roads to mitigate the impact of extreme heat.