Save the Date for This Timely NSF Session!
ADAPTING TO EXTREMES:
SECURING THE NATION AS
THE GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGES
Dr. Maureen McCarthy
The Ramada, 9 am, Wednesday, March 1, 9:00 am
Climatologists differ on the causes of the climate changes we are witnessing, but there is no disagreement that we are experiencing more weather extremes now (compared to the historical record). For example, there are significant rises in sea levels as Arctic and Antarctic regions warm and the ice caps melt. We are also witnessing more frequent and ferocious storms, heat waves and droughts, leading to concern over impacts on populated areas (many of which are at or near sea level). Already some Pacific island nations are disappearing, floods are hitting coastal installations with more force, and populations are being displaced. The U.S. is not immune to these impacts, especially considering that 40% of our populace lives within one meter of sea level!
These climate changes are having a major impact on our national security priorities. For example, Arctic warming has led to the opening of new sea routes through this region, which in turn will generate more US-Russian competition for access to these “SLOCs”—Sea Lanes of Communication. Are our emergency response teams prepared to deal with “super storms”, for example, like the “Super Typhoon Haiyan” that devastated much of the Philippines? And here in the U.S., the growing presence of “atmospheric rivers” means that communities will have to build in more resilience to continuing extreme weather variabilities.
We should note that there is widespread agreement among climatologists that: (1) The climate is changing, primarily becoming warmer; (2) That a primary cause of this climate change is the global dependence on the burning of fossil fuels; and (3) That these climate changes have and will generate critical national security concerns. However, as disappointing as it may be to some, Dr. McCarthy will focus only on (1) and (3) above, putting aside for now the causes of a changing climate.
Dr. Maureen McCarthy is on the UNR research faculty and with the Desert Research Institute. She is also the Executive Director of the Tahoe Science Consortium, where she leads multi-disciplinary research projects focused on climate change and water sustainability. Maureen is also President of McCarthy and Smith Consulting.
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