Sunday, August 3, 2014

Global Warming Turns Lake Erie Water Toxic: 500,000 left without drinking water

Green plumes of algae visible in Lake Erie. These algae blooms have poisoned much of the water in the western end of the lake.

Warning! Do not believe the right-wing echo chamber when it comes to global warming. Listening to such sources as Fox News and Rush Limbaugh could be hazardous to your health. Not just in the long run. Now.

Scientists have informed 500,000 residents of western Ohio who depend on Lake Erie for their drinking water that water from the lake is toxic to humans, right now and until cold weather returns. The problem with Climate Deniers--the people who preach that global warming is a hoax--is that people will believe them and fail to take measures to protect the planet from global warming. This situation would not be so dangerous if global warming only affects climate change deniers. But it doesn't. The attitudes of climate deniers are harming all of us.

The poison in Lake Erie is only the latest example of the dangerous effects of climate change. People demand that scientists make specific predictions and then criticize the scientific validity of their work if the predictions are not accurate. If there are fewer Atlantic Hurricanes, climate deniers crow that the scientists are wrong about one prediction so the entire theory must be wrong.

Does it work the other way? When scientists accurately predict an effect of climate change, such as the increase of poisons in Lake Erie, will climate deniers nod their heads and say, yes, I agree, the scientists were right all along? It seems unlikely. Climate change deniers are driven by politics and money, not facts. They will most likely ignore any facts that do not conform to their outrageous and irresponsible theories.

Just for the record, however, here are the facts about the poison in Lake Erie.

Global warming has changed rainfall patterns in the northeastern United States and Ontario. Heavier rainfall in isolated downpours has washed millions of pounds of phosphorous-laden soil into the lake. This phosphorus causes rapid growth of algae, which can be seen in aerial photos as a green covering that covers the waters of the lake. The algae produces substances that are poisonous to humans. Just like that, 500,000 people can no longer drink the water from Lake Erie. There is no known treatment to remove the poison. Ohioans will just have to wait until the algae is reduced by cooler temperatures in the fall before they can start drinking from their usual sources.

Climate Deniers sometimes claim that warmer temperatures will be beneficial. This is a case where global warming has harmed Ohioans, both climate deniers and reasonable people, and will cost them all a good deal of money. First, they will have to pay for their drinking water this summer, and second, they will have to pay to keep phosphates out of their lake.

For a scholarly discussion of this problem, see this.

Climate Denying, anyone?



Scientist said...

The lake is polluted with phosphorus, causing the algae bloom. I am not a "denier," but I am tired of global warming evangelists pinning the cause of anything ecological on global warming. There are numerous ecological problems going on world wide. Blaming them all on global warming is like blaming a volcano eruption on the villagers immoral behavior....just isn't true. I don't deny their behavior may be immoral, but it is not causing the volcano.

Allan Masri said...

@Scientist: Every denier claims not to be a denier. The effect you want to achieve is to create doubt and make it harder to deal with the problems caused by global warming. I will not play that game.

I am blaming the increased levels of phosphorus on a local effect of climate change, namely heavy rainfall incidents that wash larger than predicted amounts of phosphorus into Lake Erie. This is not 100% certain but we are forced to deal with it because our drinking water is being poisoned.

According to you and your fellow deniers, this is just an isolated, random incident. It is either an isolated, random incident, which I doubt, or it is a symptom of a much larger problem that we should deal with as soon as possible. Take your pick. Nature is giving you the answer and will continue to do so.

Your fellow deniers in Virginia have forbidden the Legislature to mention ocean levels rising while we watch the streets of our coastal cities flood with every high tide. You can stop talking about ocean levels rising but you can't stop it from happening. The sooner we do something about it, the cheaper it will be to fix the problem.

Your analogy about a volcanic eruption makes no sense, since we all know that volcanic eruptions are not caused by sins of the victims. But we are talking about global climate change, which is caused by the activities of man. So the analogy is worthless.

This discussion is closed.

holly said...

To the individual calling him or herself "Scientist": you have taken on a name you have not earned. Scientists understand what facts and logic and research are. They understand that the scientific method is an essential tool for separating what we actually KNOW to be true, from what we would merely like to BELIEVE.

If you actually BELIEVE that the phosphorus bloom in Lake Erie has nothing to do with global warming, then I suggest that you go back and read the link at the bottom of the original article, which contains the scientific data upon which the article is based. If you read that article, and it does not make things clearer for you, then I can only suggest that you go back and become educated.

All that aside, though, I question your sincerity much more than your education. I suspect that you are being paid by someone who profits by the current situation, someone who doesn't want it to change, and who doesn't care about the human-- or environmental--costs.

You are not a scientist. You are a sock-puppet.