从加州野火到纽约洪水:极端天气暴露美国潜在危机

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从加州野火到纽约洪水:极端天气暴露美国潜在危机

Overlapping Disasters Expose Harsh Climate Reality: The U.S. Is Not Ready

周四清晨,洪水涌入皇后区的地下通道,导致一辆公交车被困。这场风暴促使纽约市首次发布暴洪紧急警报。
周四清晨,洪水涌入皇后区的地下通道,导致一辆公交车被困。这场风暴促使纽约市首次发布暴洪紧急警报。 DAKOTA SANTIAGO FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
In Louisiana and Mississippi, nearly one million people lack electricity and drinking water after a hurricane obliterated power lines. In California, wildfire menaces Lake Tahoe, forcing tens of thousands to flee. In Tennessee, flash floods killed at least 20; hundreds more perished in a heat wave in the Northwest. And in New York City, 7 inches of rain fell in just hours Wednesday, drowning people in their basements.
在路易斯安那州和密西西比州,由于飓风摧毁电线,近100万人缺乏电力和饮用水。在加州,大火威胁着塔霍湖,迫使数万人逃离。在田纳西州,山洪造成至少20人死亡;西北地区数以百计的人死于热浪。在纽约市,周三短短几个小时内就下了七英寸的雨,导致地下室中的人溺亡。
Disasters cascading across the country this summer have exposed a harsh reality: The United States is not ready for the extreme weather that is now becoming frequent as a result of a warming planet.
今年夏天席卷美国的灾难暴露了一个严酷的现实:面对由于地球变暖而变得频繁的极端天气,美国还没有准备好。
“These events tell us we’re not prepared,” said Alice Hill, who oversaw planning for climate risks on the National Security Council during the Obama administration. “We have built our cities, our communities, to a climate that no longer exists.”
“这些事件告诉我们,我们还没有做好准备,”奥巴马政府时期在国家安全委员会(National Security Council)负责气候风险规划的爱丽丝·希尔(Alice Hill)说。“我们是按照已经不复存在的气候建设我们的城市和社区。”
In remarks Thursday, President Biden acknowledged the challenge ahead.
在周四的讲话中,拜登总统承认了未来的挑战。
“And to the country, the past few days of Hurricane Ida and the wildfires in the West and the unprecedented flash floods in New York and New Jersey is yet another reminder that these extreme storms and the climate crisis are here,” said Mr. Biden, who noted that a $1 trillion infrastructure bill pending in Congress includes some money to gird communities against disasters. “We need to do — be better prepared. We need to act.”
“对全国来说,过去几天来的飓风“艾达”(Hurricane Ida)、西部的野火,以及纽约和新泽西前所未有的洪水都再次提醒我们,这些极端风暴和气候危机近在咫尺,”拜登说。他指出,国会正在审议的1万亿美元的基础设施法案中包括一些用于帮助社区抵御灾害的资金。“我们需要更好的准备。我们需要采取行动。”
本周早些时候,圣马科斯的消防队员努力在南塔霍湖的卡尔多大火中拯救一间燃烧的小屋。
本周早些时候,圣马科斯的消防队员努力在南塔霍湖的卡尔多大火中拯救一间燃烧的小屋。 MAX WHITTAKER FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
The country faces two separate but interlaced problems, according to climate and resilience experts.
气候和抗灾专家表示,美国面临着两个独立但相互交织的问题。
First, governments have not spent enough time and money to brace for climate shocks that have long been predicted: everything from maintaining and fortifying electrical lines and storm water systems to clearing forests of undergrowth in order to reduce the ferocity of wildfires.
首先,政府没有花费足够时间和金钱来应对长期以来早已预测到的气候冲击:从维护和加固电线和雨水系统,到清除森林中的灌木丛以减少野火的凶猛程度。
“We’re feeling all the effects of that deferred maintenance,” said Kristina Dahl, a senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists.
忧思科学家联盟(Union of Concerned Scientists)的资深气候科学家克里斯汀娜·达尔(Kristina Dahl)说,“我们感受到了这种延期维护的所有影响。”
But there’s a second, more sobering lesson: There are limits to how much the country, and the world, can adapt. And if nations don’t do more to cut greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change, they may soon run up against the outer edges of resilience.
但还有另一个更为发人深省的教训:美国和世界能够适应的程度是有限的。如果各国不采取更多措施来减少导致气候变化的温室气体排放,它们可能很快就会达到抗灾能力的边缘。
“If we already can’t cope with where we are, then there’s little hope that it’s going to improve in a warming climate,” Dr. Dahl said.
“如果我们已经无法应对目前的状况,那么在气候变暖的情况下,改善的希望就微乎其微了,”达尔说。
The country’s vulnerability in the face of extreme weather was punctuated by the downpour that flooded the country’s largest city. New York City has invested billions of dollars in storm protection since Hurricane Sandy in 2012, investments that seemed to do little to blunt the impact of the deluge.
淹没美国最大城市的倾盆大雨进一步凸显了这个国家面对极端天气有多么脆弱。自2012年飓风“桑迪”(Hurricane Sandy)以来,纽约市已经在风暴防护方面投资了数十亿美元,但这些投资似乎无助于减弱洪水的影响。
Rain poured down in furious torrents, turning the subway system into a kind of flume ride. Central Park recorded 7.19 inches of rain, nearly double the previous record set in 1927 for the same date, according to the National Weather Service, which issued the city’s first-ever flash flood emergency alert.
大雨倾盆而下,把地铁系统变成了水槽。根据国家气象局的数据,中央公园当天的降雨量为7.19英寸(约18.26厘米),几乎是1927年同期记录的两倍。该局发布了纽约市有史以来首次洪水紧急警报。
Ahead of the storm, city and state officials activated preparation plans: clearing drains, erecting flood barriers in the subway and other sensitive areas, warning the public. But the rainfall dumped more water, and faster, than what city factored into its new storm water maps as an “extreme” flood event.
在暴风雨来临之前,市政府和州政府官员启动了准备计划:清理排水沟,在地铁和其他敏感地区竖起防洪屏障,警告公众。但是,这次降雨带来的水量和速度都超过了该市在其新的暴雨规划中为“极端”洪水事件所订立的标准。
The pattern of damage reflects the relationship between climate exposure and racial inequality: impacts were more apparent in low-income communities of color, which, because of historic inequalities, are more prone to flooding, receive less maintenance from city services, and frequently experience lax housing code enforcement.
破坏的模式反映了气候暴露和种族不平等之间的关系:低收入的有色人种社区所受影响更为明显,因为由来已久的不平等,这些社区更容易遭受洪水冲击,得到城市服务的维护更少,常有住房法规执行不严的问题。
Most of those killed in New York City drowned when floodwaters rushed into their basement apartments. Many such apartments do not meet safety requirements, but have proliferated as affordable housing for the working poor and undocumented immigrants who may fear complaining to authorities about safety violations.
在纽约市,大部分遇难者是在洪水冲进地下公寓时被淹死的。许多这样的公寓不符合安全要求,却成为穷人和非法移民可负担的住房,从而数量激增,这些人可能不敢向当局投诉住处违反安全规定。
In one case, Tara Ramskriet, 43, and her son Nick, 22, drowned when water filled their basement apartment in the Hollis section of Queens so quickly family members could not pull them out against the flow and a wall collapsed, trapping them inside.
在一个事例中,43岁的塔拉·拉姆斯克里特(Tara Ramskriet)和她22岁的儿子尼克(Nick)在皇后区霍利斯区的地下室公寓里溺亡,当时水很快就涌了进来,家人无法把他们拉出来,一堵墙倒塌了,他们被困在里面。
Neighbors were outraged, saying it took fatalities to bring city inspectors to the scene.
邻居们非常愤怒,他们说,只有在发生了死亡事件后,城市调查员才赶到现场。
“This happens all the time,” said Jennifer Mooklal, 33, who lives across the street from the Ramskriets. “Even if it’s just rain, our basement gets flooded. We’ve been dealing with this problem for years and have been asking the city but no one is listening to us.”
“这种事经常发生,”33岁的詹妮弗·穆克拉尔(Jennifer Mooklal)说。她住在拉姆斯克里特一家的街对面。“就算只是下雨,我们的地下室也会被水淹没。我们多年来一直在处理这个问题,一直在向市政府提要求,但没有人听我们的。”
Damage from extreme weather, and threats to human life, will only increase as the planet warms. For every 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit of global warming, the atmosphere holds about 7 percent more moisture, scientists have found. That means much heavier rainfall when storms do occur.
随着地球变暖,极端天气造成的破坏和对人类生命的威胁只会增加。科学家发现,全球气温每升高1.8华氏度(1摄氏度),大气中的湿度就会增加约7%。这意味着当暴风雨发生时,降雨量会更大。
周四清晨,在皇后区183街90-11号的地下室里,一名母亲和她年幼的孩子遇难。飓风艾达带来的暴雨引发了洪水,导致地基倒塌。
周四清晨,在皇后区183街90-11号的地下室里,一名母亲和她年幼的孩子遇难。飓风艾达带来的暴雨引发了洪水,导致地基倒塌。 GREGG VIGLIOTTI FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
Across the continental United States, the heaviest downpours have become more frequent and severe, according to the federal government’s National Climate Assessment. The Northeast has seen 50 percent more rainfall during the heaviest storms compared with the first half of the 20th century.
根据联邦政府的《国家气候评估报告》(National Climate Assessment),在美国大陆,最强的暴雨变得更加频繁和严重。与20世纪上半叶相比,在最猛烈的风暴中,东北地区在最严重的暴风雨期间的降雨量增加了50%。
New York City is particularly vulnerable to flooding. Three-fourths of the city is covered by impervious surfaces like asphalt, which means runoff is channeled into streets and sewers rather than being absorbed by the ground.
纽约市尤其容易受到洪水的影响。这座城市的四分之三被沥青等不透水表面覆盖,这意味着径流会流入街道和下水道,而不是被地面吸收。
And the city’s century-old subway system was not designed for a warming climate. Even on dry days, a network of pumps pours out 14 million gallons of water from its tunnels and stations. Heavy rains can overwhelm the system, as they did on Wednesday.
而且,该市有百年历史的地铁系统也不是为气候变暖而设计的。即使在干燥的日子里,一个水泵网络也会从隧道和车站排出1400万加仑(约合5300万升)的水。暴雨可能淹没整个系统,就像周三那样。
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has invested $2.6 billion in resiliency projects since Hurricane Sandy inundated the city’s subways in 2012, including fortifying 3,500 subway vents, staircases and elevator shafts against flooding. Still, this week’s flash floods showed that the system remains vulnerable.
自从2012年飓风“桑迪”淹没纽约市地铁以来,大都会运输署(Metropolitan Transportation Authority)已经在抗灾项目上投资了26亿美元以抵御洪水,包括加固3500个地铁通风口、楼梯和电梯井。不过,本周的洪水暴发表明,该系统仍然很脆弱。
One reason is that city and federal officials focused on protecting against the kind of coastal storm surge that Sandy wrought, according to Amy Chester, managing director of Rebuild by Design, a nonprofit group that works on climate resilience.
致力于气候抗灾能力的非营利组织重建设计(Rebuild by Design)总干事艾米·切斯特(Amy Chester)说,一个原因是,城市和联邦官员把重点放在了防范飓风“桑迪”造成的那种沿海风暴潮上。
But in the case of Hurricane Ida, the main threat was rainwater flowing downhill, not storm surge pushing in from the coast. So much water fell that it overwhelmed storm drains, overflowed riverbanks and poured into basements, from the hilly parts of Manhattan’s Washington Heights to the inland flats of Jamaica in Queens.
但在飓风“艾达”来袭时,主要的威胁是沿山势而下的雨水,而不是来自海岸的风暴潮。从曼哈顿华盛顿高地的丘陵地带到皇后区牙买加的内陆平地,大量雨水淹没了暴雨排水沟,溢出河岸,流入地下室。
The investments that protect against storm surge differ from those that guard against extreme rain, Ms. Chester said.
切斯特说,防范风暴潮的投资与防范极端降雨是不一样的。
Coping with severe rainfall means more places to absorb and hold water, whether that’s so-called green solutions like parks, or traditional structures like underground retention tanks. And it means increasing the capacity of the sewer system to handle a greater volume of water.
应对强降雨意味着要有更多地方可以吸收和蓄水,无论是公园等所谓绿色解决方案,还是地下蓄水池等传统建筑。这也意味着增加下水道系统的容量来处理更多的水。
Because New York has mostly been spared the type of severe rainfall that occurred Wednesday, officials have made it less of a priority.
由于纽约大多数时候不会发生周三那种强降雨,官员们没有把它作为优先事项。
Other countries have heeded the warnings of climate scientists and acted.
其他国家也注意到了气候科学家的警告并采取了行动。
In the Netherlands, where much of the country lies below sea level, the government strengthened flood design standards and in 2007 created a program called Room for the River, which in essence authorized the wholesale redesign and rebuilding of dozens of vulnerable watersheds around cities like Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The goal was to prepare for the sort of one-in-10,000-year floods that Dutch scientists were warning might become more frequent.
在大部分地区都低于海平面的荷兰,政府加强了洪水设计标准,并在2007年创建了一个名为“河流空间”(Room for the River)的项目,该项目的本质是授权对阿姆斯特丹和鹿特丹等城市周围数十个脆弱的分水岭进行大规模重新设计和重建,目的是为万年一遇的洪水做好准备,荷兰科学家警告说,这种洪水可能会变得更加频繁。
In that country, government water boards have the ultimate authority over land use. If they determine an area is needed for flood protection, its residents must move.
在该国,政府水务管理委员会掌握着土地的最终使用权。如果他们确定哪个地区需要防洪,该地区的居民必须迁移。
Specific taxes are dedicated to water management. There is no national flood insurance program for residents in flood zones in the Netherlands because, the Dutch argue, the government’s job is to protect people from floods, not help homeowners rebuild in areas vulnerable to damage.
专门的税收被用于水务管理。荷兰没有针对洪水地区居民的全国性洪水保险计划,因为荷兰人认为政府的工作是保护人们免受洪水侵袭,而不是帮助易受破坏地区的房主重建家园。
Among other things, Room for the River created dozens of new parks, enhancing underserved neighborhoods, resettling populations living in flood zones into new homes out of harm’s way, and girding the nation’s economy in the process.
除此之外,“河流空间”还建造了几十个新公园,对服务不足的社区做了改善,将生活在洪水泛滥地区的人们安置到远离危险的新家园,并在此过程中为国家经济提供了支撑。
2021年9月2日,星期四,在美国新泽西州米尔本,一名男子正在清理因飓风艾达余波造成的洪水。
2021年9月2日,星期四,在美国新泽西州米尔本,一名男子正在清理因飓风艾达余波造成的洪水。 BRYAN ANSELM FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES
It’s a different story in the United States, where efforts to adapt and mitigate American cities for severe storms and rising seas have been plodding. There are many reasons: Government’s reluctance to impose on private property, a legacy of racial and economic injustice, and a system of governance and regulation that often moves far slower than the hastening pace of climate change.
美国的情况则不同,令美国城市适应严重风暴和海平面上升并减轻其影响的努力一直在缓慢进行。原因有很多:政府不愿强制处理私有财产;种族和经济不公平的遗留问题;以及治理和监管体系的运行速度往往远远慢于越来越快的气候变化。

Christopher Flavelle主要关注人类、政府和行业如何努力应对全球变暖的影响。他曾因报道联邦政府应对洪水的努力而获得2018年国家新闻基金会奖。欢迎在Twitter上关注他 @cflav

Anne Barnard为纽约城市版面报道气候和环境问题。2012年至2018年,她曾担任时报贝鲁特分社社长。她于2007年加入时报,此前曾为《波士顿环球报》报道中东和伊拉克战争。欢迎在Twitter上关注她 @ABarnardNYT

Brad Plumer是一名气候记者,专门负责减排相关的政策和技术报道。他还曾为时报报道国际气候谈判和美国不断变化的能源格局。欢迎在Twitter上关注他 @bradplumer

Michael Kimmelman是一名建筑评论家。他在40多个国家做过报道,此前曾担任时报首席艺术评论家。在柏林期间,他创办了“在国外”专栏,报道欧洲和中东的文化与政治。他还是一家专注于全球挑战和进步的创业公司Headway的创始人兼编辑。欢迎在Twitter上关注他 @kimmelman

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