FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) - One of the discussions surrounding climate change is the impact it has on our weather. Scientists agree there’s a relationship between the amount of carbon dioxide we’ve added to the atmosphere and the changing weather patterns we’ve seen and if we don’t do something, we could be facing serious consequences.
One of those consequences is more extreme heat. Data shows that we have had some cooler than average years in Fort Wayne since 1959, but they’re less frequent now. On average since 1970, we’ve had more 90 degree days in Fort Wayne per year.
As we’ve spoken about before, heat is the number killer among weather related phenomenon, so even more deaths are possible per year.
Physics tells us that warmer air leads to more moisture in the atmosphere, which thunderstorms could use to produce more flooding. That, combined with the issue of urbanization, puts many people in harm’s way.
"The more buildings we build, the more parking lots we build, the more parking structures we build, the less ground there is to absorb water and that’s been a real concern of ours for years now," said Mayor Henry.
Fort Wayne has been proactive in combating increase annual rainfall rates, With Indiana having one of the highest annual rainfall rate increases in the country.
Mayor Henry explained, "We bought a lot of property that is in a position to go ahead and flood. We have some areas in Waynedale and some other areas around some of the parks that are designed to hold water in the case of a high water event to keep them away from residential structures and other commercial structures."
The third threat, and the one that worries Mayor Henry the most, the increase in tornado activity. Research from Dr. Victor Gensini and Dr. Harold Brooks shows tornado frequency has been increasing the southern Great Lakes since 1979. Additional research indicate that it could be due to the arid-region of the Western United States is shifting eastward.
"Fort Wayne’s been very blessed in the fact that we have not experienced very much tornado activity in the past decade or so," Mayor Henry said, "Just recently there were a number of tornadoes that hit indiana, most of them were central and southern indiana, but nevertheless, they were in our neck-of-the-woods, if you will, and that worries me immensely."
One of the solutions, one discussed at the Mayor’s Climate Conference held at the end of June 2019, is making buildings more wind-resistant.
Mayor Henry said "Many of our buildings in fort wayne are already there, but many of them are not, especially small businesses. So, what we need probably to do is take an inventory of as many buildings as we can to determine whether or not they are in a position to withstand that type of winds that tornadoes bring."
Mayor Henry admits Fort Wayne isn’t perfectly climate resilient and it takes everybody to make sure we’re a little bit better prepared for what could impact us.
Here's two sources of information on how you can make small changes that, if everyone did, would make a huge difference.