Cindy Preszler, Mike Roberts explain climate change impact on local weather

9:15 PM, Sep 20, 2013   |    comments
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ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - A new voice is being heard in the discussion on climate change, as new evidence connecting it to extreme weather events begins to pile up.

When the current Chief of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet, Admiral Samuel Locklear III, was asked what his biggest security concern is, he did not name North Korea or China. He did not mention a nation or military threat at all. He said; "climate change."

In NewsChannel 5's half-hour special, "To the Extreme: Forecasting St. Louis' Future," the man the U.S. Navy assigned to be its first director of the Task Force on Climate Change, retired Rear Admiral David Titley talks about change. In 2009, he was asked to make a projection on how climate change would impact the Navy and its ability to keep the nation secure.

Among Titley's conclusions: seas will rise an average of 3' to 3.5'; by 2025 to 2030 there will be places in the arctic with no sea ice; and decreased ice in the Bering Strait will open the arctic in many different and hard to predict ways.

The military is moving forward on the assumption that climate change will cause a variety of problems.

"There are more than 30 U.S. military installations in the world which project severe disruptions due to rising sea levels," said retired U.S. Army Brigadier General John Adams. "There's a real high sense of awareness in the Department of Defense about the risks of climate change and especially on coming up with plans to mitigate the risks."

Our special presents evidence released just this month by the American Meteorological Society, which concludes half of the extreme weather events examined from 2012 were impacted by human-induced climate change.

In fact, the past few months have been something of a traffic jam for revelations in climate change understanding. Information came out in May showing that the earth's atmosphere has now reached 400 parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide for the first time in three million years, based on observations taken at Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. NewsChannel 5 meteorologist Chester Lampkin will have that story for us.

In July the World Meteorological Society said "extreme weather events are the new face of climate change" and in August a report by a panel of international scientists connected "with near certainty" human activity to most of the increases in temperatures seen in recent decades. All of these findings factored into our report.

There's also a story of how a local community, faced with a daunting challenge to its water supply, met that challenge. Farrah Fazal introduced us to those folks.

We have information based on a study by the E.P.A. on how the climate may change in the Midwest and finish with a panel discussion with Dr. Charles Graves from the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at St. Louis University; Anu Hittle, Director of Hawaiian Projects at Washington University and financial analyst Juli Niemann from Smith-Moore.

There's a lot more and we hope you can be with us to watch this evening at 7 p.m. for our special on climate change; "To the Extreme: Forecasting St. Louis' Future."

You can watch the entire broadcast by clicking on the video players above and to the left of this story.

U.S. Naval Task Force on Climate Change
American Meteorological Society: Retired U.S. Navy Rear Admiral David Titley on climate change and national security
Scientific American
: U.S. Military forges ahead with plans to combat climate change
New Security Beat
U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy Daniel Chiu on energy concerns
The Hill
: Climate change causing Pentagon planning shift, says DOD strategist
American Meteorological Society: Half of Extreme Weather Events in 2012 Tied to Climate Change
NASA: Scientists react to 400 ppm carbon milestone
United Nations: World Meteorological Organization
IPCC 5th Assessment 
Centers for Disease Control: Climate change and state readiness
EPA: Regional implications of climate change in the Midwest


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