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Our New Extreme Weather Reality And How San Diego Is Preparing

Evening Edition

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

Aired 10/31/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.

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.

Comments

Avatar for user 'ronbonn'

ronbonn | October 31, 2012 at 12:37 p.m. ― 1 year, 10 months ago

Unfortunately, today's discussion revolved entirely about the EFFECTS of global warming, and how to cope with them. But over the longer term, nothing will help us until we recognize and begin to deal with the CAUSE.

Every day we, the human race, pump new tons of C0-2---greenhouse gas--into our atmosphere. We've been doing it for almost two centuries now. Before this vast change, sunlight would strike the planet, and be re-radiated back into space. The balance between incoming energy and outgoing energy was exactly attuned to making Earth hospitable to life.

But now, more and more of that incoming sunlight energy is trapped within the atmosphere as heat, just as a greenhouse traps sunlight. The atmosphere warms, the oceans warm. And heat is energy--every day, every hour, we continue to add energy to the planet's cover of air and bodies of water. The result: more and more storms, each packing more energy than before. That's why the 'hundred-year- storm' is becoming the 'ten-year-storm.'

"Sandy," with its dozens of dead and 50-billion-dollar cost estimate, should be viewed as the gentlest tap on the shoulder from Mother Nature--a timely reminder that, unless we seriously address our attack on the Earth's atmosphere, in the words of Al Jolson, "You ain't seen nothin' yet!"

Ron Bonn

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Avatar for user 'radiofree'

radiofree | October 31, 2012 at 10:20 p.m. ― 1 year, 10 months ago

In spite of all the evidence, that red-nosed weather guy on channel KUSI still denies climate change. And gullible people believe him because he predicts the weather.

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