The greenback. Climate disruption and anticipation

Snowfall on the city of Saint-Etienne, November 14, 2019. (R? MY PERRIN / MAXPPP)

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So-called exceptional snow falls in this season have hit our country in recent days. The weather warned us through a network of powerful calculators some of which work in peta flop, it is a speed of calculation which is a million billion operations per second!

However, their forecasts are not 100% sure beyond a few weeks, or even less, but safe enough in any case to anticipate. Climate disruption or not, the exception of yesterday can, today and tomorrow, become the rule, heat waves in summer, waves of cold in winter. There remains the choice: to change our lifestyles with schedules or telecommuting, for those who can, and provided not to be a victim of power failure.

But if we want to take the car at all costs, communities need to invest, for example, in more snow removal equipment, and more personnel, but this costs only a few dozen days a year. And that does not solve everything. Adapt and / or finance: you have to choose!

For the roads, we use the preventive and curative scraping and salting often and at the right time. But salt is very damaging to the environment, it pollutes groundwater. We even measured salinity in our lakes, it destroys the flora and fauna, and finally it is corrosive for vehicles. And all that is expensive. The 700 000 tonnes of salt spread on the roads each year represents 100 million euros per year, including equipment and materials, not to mention snow removal for rail and air.

However, the economic and environmental cost can be reduced by reducing salt, for example by mixing it with volcanic rock called pozzolana. And techniques are being experimented to store hot water under the pavement in summer to restore it in winter and melt the ice.

For the air, we treat the tracks as for the roads, and we project glycol on the wings and fuselage of aircraft to delay icing, we must have enough retention ponds, which is not always the case, at the risk of polluting our rivers.

For the railway, the same product is applied under the trains to avoid the splashing of ice which causes breakage of windows, which can be dangerous, especially in train crossings.

Glycol is also widely used for cars and road vehicles, especially in radiators. Produced in billions of liters in the world, it is highly toxic, so to watch closely.

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