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SPECIAL COVERAGE: Living With Wildfires: San Diego Firestorm 10 Years Later

Our New Extreme Weather Reality And How San Diego Is Preparing

Brian Holland, climate program director for the International Council for Local Environment Initiatives, talks to KPBS.

GUESTS:

Peter Bromirski, Associate Research Oceanographer, Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Brian Holland, Climate Program Director, International Council for Local Environment Initiatives

Transcript

The East Coast continues to dig out from the debris and flooding left in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Many are wondering if climate change played any role in this "superstorm" and other conditions seen across the nation and here in San Diego County.

In conversation with reporters in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said we live in a world now where what we used to call 100-year hurricanes and floods are coming every few years, and we have to start preparing for this new reality.

Hurricane Sandy is a sign of a new climate reality we all will have to contend with, said Brian Holland, climate program director for the International Council for Local Environment Initiatives.

"You're seeing it with Hurricane Sandy, we've seen it all year with regards to drought in the Midwest, extreme heat and power outages in the Mid-Atlantic, and now with Hurricane Sandy," he said. "The projections are that this is only going to get more intense."

In San Diego, he said, we face more wildfires, more drought, longer and more frequent heat waves and sea level rise due to climate change.

San Diego could see between 1 and 1.5 feet in sea level rise by 2050, and as many as 5 feet by 2100, Holland said .

To prepare for this new reality, Holland said the city needs to elevate our infrastructure, replenish beaches and wetlands and be thinking about the future.

Claire Trageser contributed to this report.

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