Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Flooding of Nebraska Air Force Base Illustrates Security Risk Posed by Climate Change

Popular
Offutt Air Force Base after flooding on March 17. U.S. Air Force / TSgt. Rachelle Blake

The historic flooding that devastated Nebraska last week has also submerged one third of an Air Force base, offering a further illustration of the threat posed to national security by climate change.


Flooding at Offutt Air Force Base forced the evacuation of eight planes, including one of four Boeing-made E4-B planes that are supposed to act as an aerial command center if ground bases are destroyed in an emergency like a nuclear attack, Reuters reported. Waters inundated 30 buildings at the base.

"It is extremely clear that we face a grand challenge," Colonel Michael Manion, 55th Wing Commander said in a Facebook post reported by The Verge.

Offutt Base also houses Strategic Command, which is in charge of the nation's nuclear weapons, but its headquarters was on a hill and not impacted by the floods.

The incident comes as the Trump administration is considering forming a panel on whether or not climate change poses a national security risk, which would be headed by staunch climate denier William Happer. The Pentagon already found that climate change posed a threat to military bases in January, and former military and intelligence leaders have written to President Donald Trump urging him not to challenge those findings.

The flooding at Offutt base has prompted further criticisms of Trump's denialism.

"This is an example of a vital threat to our national security from a climate-related disaster, and more of this kind of thing is likely in the future," Center for Climate and Security co-founder Francesco Femia told Reuters, saying the incident showed why Trump should not interfere with military assessments of climate risk.

The Pentagon report released in January did not list flooding as a potential climate risk to Offutt Base. Instead, the report said the base was most likely to be impacted by drought, The Washington Post reported.

Despite this, climate change does make flooding events like the one that swamped the base more likely, as The Washington Post explained:

Warmer temperatures mean more evaporation from soil and more droughts. That moisture, though, goes into the air, which can hold more water as it warms. That leads to bigger, more powerful storms with more precipitation — including in snowstorms. Since 1958, the percentage of days each year in which precipitation has met or exceeded the 99th percentile increased by 29 percent in the Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming and Nebraska.

The Nebraska flooding isn't the only extreme weather event to impact military installations in recent years, The Verge pointed out. Last year, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina was damaged by Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael caused billions of dollars in damage to Tyndall Air Force Base in the Florida panhandle.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Marco Bottigelli / Moment / Getty Images

By James Shulmeister

Climate Explained is a collaboration between The Conversation, Stuff and the New Zealand Science Media Centre to answer your questions about climate change.

If you have a question you'd like an expert to answer, please send it to climate.change@stuff.co.nz

Read More Show Less
Luxy Images / Getty Images

By Jo Harper

Investment in U.S. offshore wind projects are set to hit $78 billion (€69 billion) this decade, in contrast with an estimated $82 billion for U.S. offshore oil and gasoline projects, Wood Mackenzie data shows. This would be a remarkable feat only four years after the first offshore wind plant — the 30 megawatt (MW) Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island — started operating in U.S. waters.

Read More Show Less
Giacomo Berardi / Unsplash

The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed both the strengths and limitations of globalization. The crisis has made people aware of how industrialized food production can be, and just how far food can travel to get to the local supermarket. There are many benefits to this system, including low prices for consumers and larger, even global, markets for producers. But there are also costs — to the environment, workers, small farmers and to a region or individual nation's food security.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Joe Leech

The human body comprises around 60% water.

It's commonly recommended that you drink eight 8-ounce (237-mL) glasses of water per day (the 8×8 rule).

Read More Show Less

By Michael Svoboda

The enduring pandemic will make conventional forms of travel difficult if not impossible this summer. As a result, many will consider virtual alternatives for their vacations, including one of the oldest forms of virtual reality – books.

Read More Show Less
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility on Thursday accused NOAA of ignoring its own scientists' findings about the endangerment of the North Atlantic right whale. Lauren Packard / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

By Julia Conley

As the North Atlantic right whale was placed on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's list of critically endangered species Thursday, environmental protection groups accusing the U.S. government of bowing to fishing and fossil fuel industry pressure to downplay the threat and failing to enact common-sense restrictions to protect the animals.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Pexels

By Beth Ann Mayer

Since even moderate-intensity workouts offer a slew of benefits, walking is a good choice for people looking to stay healthy.

Read More Show Less