Man-made Blue Water Stream
In the formerly underground water environment of the Bella Vista Grasslands, early season grass has been shifted into a late season environment by human bias.
Normally, this water would flow through the grasslands on a quick fall from aerial clouds, followed by a slow descent through underground ones. Today, road beds and street drains force the underground clouds to break to the surface, where their water runs off quickly and is lost to the soil environment.
New Surface Water
This is a far, far cooler environment than the natural grasslands themselves.
The result of all this rapidly dissipating water is the overflow of a local walking trail.
Recreation of Cool Post-Glacial Environment in the Hot Grasslands
We’ve gone back 10,000 years.
Still, the land is forgiving. The wetlands that used to catch this water after it had supported the grasslands for a full season, used it again to create food sources for the fish of the area’s deep, post-glacial lakes. Today, they are largely filled in and covered with shipping warehouses, schools, houses, and sports fields, and the land is moving this vital wetland area up onto the hill. As a consequence of this vertical move, the cool lowlands are now 100 metres higher (and a week cooler on each end of the season) than they were below. That’s global cooling. Take a look here, at the land trying to recreate its original system…
New Wetland in its Infancy
Still early post-glacial times, though.
The whole thing creates dramatic contrasts in climate. Here’s a new cat tail blooming amidst the bunchgrass, a colonizer of drought (and one of its creators)…
…and here’s a new frog-rearing pond …
It is unknown how the frogs hiding here as tadpoles will react to the shortened season that comes from the increase in altitude of their home environment, or to its intermittent water source, which is fed by roads and cloud events instead of by long underground flows. Worse, ‘landscapers’ could come by and weed whack this story down to shreds. They did last August, at any rate. For now, though, it looks like this …
A New Wetland?
If this area becomes a permanent wetland, it may have no connection to the lake and the lake’s fish, yet might restore dynamism to a grassland community robbed of its wetland lakes for irrigation and domestic water purposes. It is in wetlands such as this that grasslands breathe, just as lakes do.
The New Wetland and the Wound it is Trying to Heal
One consequence of shifting the water collection system of the grassland up from its base is that a section of grassland is cut out of the water loop. For example, the grassland below this wetland is largely non-functional in this new system. It sports only a weedy ingrowth of houses.
The View Over the Old Wetlands of Okanagan Landing
It is here that global cooling becomes global warming. The land in between the new wetland and this older one is no longer the most efficient part of a gravity floor of water and organic material but a recreation of the weaker higher system, placed at a lower, hotter, and drier altitude. This is global warming, pure and simple, and the natural consequence of the global cooling that moved the wetlands uphill in the first place.
Note: This is the first of a three part series, that leads through two other forms of global cooling and their consequences. I’m off to the Washington Coast until August 8. I’ll bring you the rest of the story after that.