UNL Town Hall Meeting to address climate change
The U.S. Global Change Research Program released in January a draft version of the National Climate Assessment with some grim findings about the state of the global climate and its potential effects on the United States.
The report begins with this opening statement: "Climate change is already affecting the American people. Certain types of weather events have become more frequent and/or intense, including heat waves, heavy downpours, and, in some regions, floods and droughts. Sea level is rising, oceans are becoming more acidic, and glaciers and arctic sea ice are melting. These changes are part of the pattern of global climate change, which is primarily driven by human activity."
The report also says that climate change will continue, and is expected to accelerate significantly if emissions continue to increase.
The report is divided into 30 chapters, focusing on various sectors and geographic regions. Chapters include findings on climate change impacts on water resources, transportation, agriculture and rural communities, to name a few. The report also discusses impacts specific to geographic regions within the United States.
The chapter on the Great Plains, which includes Nebraska, finds the recent trend of extreme weather will continue and likely increase.
"The people of the Great Plains historically have adapted to this challenging climate," the report says. "Although trends and projections suggest more frequent and more intense droughts, severe rainfall events, and heat waves, communities and individuals can reduce vulnerabilities through the use of new technologies, community-driven policies, and the judicious use of resources."
Impacts for Nebraska and the Great Plains will be discussed in a town hall meeting at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's School of Natural Resources on Feb. 4. The day-long event will be held at UNL's Hardin Hall, located on the corner of 33rd and Holdrege Streets on East Campus, beginning at 8:45 a.m.
Participants will have the opportunity to learn about the National Climate Assessment, how to contribute to the report's review process, meet report authors, share knowledge about local and regional efforts related to climate change, and discover ways their communities can participate in the process.
Planned featured speakers include Gene Takle, the lead author of the report's Agricultural chapter; Shannon McNeeley of the North Central Climate Science Center; Mark Svoboda of the National Drought Mitigation Center at UNL; Doug Kluck, the central region climate services director at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and Tala Awada, interim director of UNL's School of Natural Resources. Authors of the Great Plains chapter and sector chapters for water, land use, forestry and health will also discuss findings with UNL faculty at the Town Hall meeting.
UNL climatologist Don Wilhite, the former SNR director and founding director of the National Drought Mitigation Center, is organizing the town hall meeting. Any questions can be directed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The U.S. Global Change Research Program was created by Congress in 1990 to create every four years a report to Congress and the President that details current scientific knowledge about the climate and its impacts globally, nationally and regionally. Among the stated goals are: To increase "understanding of what is known and not known about climate change," and help guide "climate science priorities."
The entire draft report or specific chapters can be viewed at http://1.usa.gov/XbUKou.
Learn more about the Great Plains town hall at http://snr.unl.edu/aboutus/what/newsarchive/2012/climatetownhall.asp.