Dr. Robert Davies with the Utah Climate Center discusses the science of global climate change in his compelling 30 minute presentation, “Earth’s Changing Climate”. The presentation focuses on the physical phenomenon, our understanding based on observation and measurement. Here are a few highlights:
While Earth’s climate does change naturally, the changes we’re seeing today are unique in Earth’s climate history. The Earth is warming and not as part of a natural cycle. Why?
Greenhouse gases, like carbon dioxide are increasing in the atmosphere through burning fossil fuels at an ever accelerating rate. As a result, energy is trapped, raising the Earth’s temperature.
Specifically in Utah, temperatures have been rising at about twice the global average over the past 40 years.
The rise in temperatures significantly impacts natural systems, which directly affect human systems. What lies ahead? Catastrophic climate disruption is probable.
The answer, however, is yet to be determined and lies in the choices we make.
Watch the full presentation here. If you want to skip ahead to Utah-specific information, start watching at 14 minutes 30 seconds.
Blog by SLCgreen’s Johanna Stangland
The Science and Economic impact of Climate Change premiered last week as part of the Clark Planetarium and Citizen’s Climate Lobby 2015 series, Utah and Climate Change.
Utah State University physicist, Rob Davies began the program with an informative presentation. He explained warming trends in Utah and showed a particularly sobering graphic simulation forecasting snow pack to the year 2100. Here is what spring snow pack in Utah could look like in the year 2075 if emissions continue at a high rate. Click here to see the entire simulation from recorded data since 1850 and projected data to 2100.
Additionally he explained that Utah is warming at a higher rate than the global average. Here is a graph from his presentation showing that Salt Lake City is warming at two times the global average! Zion, Hanksville, and Bluff are warming at an even higher rate, 2.7x, 3.4x, and 3.8x the global average, respectively.
Other speakers included Laura Briefer, Water Resource Manager for Salt Lake City; Maura Olivos, Sustainability Coordinator for Alta; and Gabriel Lozada, Economist from University of Utah. They primarily discussed the economic side of climate change in Utah, with Laura focusing on water and the economy, Maura presenting about skiing and the economy, and Gabriel giving an overview of how a carbon tax would work. Following the presentations, the panel answered questions from the audience.
The second free panel presentation and discussion in the series on Utah Media Coverage of Climate Change will take place February 25th at 7:00 p.m. at the Clark Planetarium.