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Scientist working on local climate change report: juneauempire 080906

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  • pat neuman
    http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/080906/loc_20060809027.shtml Scientist working on local climate change report Social, environmental effects assessed as
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 29 2:27 PM
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      http://www.juneauempire.com/stories/080906/loc_20060809027.shtml

      Scientist working on local climate change report

      Social, environmental effects assessed as area grows warmer
      By ERIC MORRISON JUNEAU EMPIRE
      The annual average temperature in Juneau has risen 4 degrees
      Fahrenheit since 1943, according to a meteorologist with the Juneau
      Weather Forecast Office.



      Sound off on the important issues at
      This and other climate changes could have a significant effect on
      Southeast Alaska, officials say.
      The city's Scientific Panel on Climate Change is finishing a report on
      what environmental and socioeconomic changes could be on the horizon
      for the state capital, said Brendan Kelly, chairman of the six-person
      group.

      "That's an area we want to understand better and help the community
      understand better," he said.

      The panel was set up by Mayor Bruce Botelho to help educate the public
      on climate change in Juneau, Kelly said at the panel's meeting Tuesday
      afternoon.

      "The first order is to lay out the facts in as clear a way as
      possible," he said. "We want to make sure we do that well before we
      weigh in what policy actions should be taken."

      Kelly said there is no doubt the trend appears to be warmer
      temperatures across the globe.

      "It certainly is a reality that the climate overall is warming," he
      said. "The earth overall is warming. ... In Juneau we're warming
      faster overall than the overall average."

      In 1943, when local temperatures were first recorded, the average
      temperature for Juneau was 38 degrees. The average now is about 42.5
      degrees, said Tom Ainsworth, a panelist and the meteorologist in
      charge of the Juneau Weather Forecast Office.

      "It's not necessarily a bad thing," Ainsworth said, adding that the
      planet continuously goes through climate-change cycles. "It's a
      natural thing. But if we can use our information of these cycles to
      improve our lifestyle, then I think we should."

      Panelist Jim Powell said there is a lot of "gloom and doom" associated
      with climate change and global warming, but there are things that can
      be done to deal with some of the issues the community could face down
      the road.

      "There's a story here but there can be a good outcome," he said.

      Powell said the community needs to turn the corner and realize that
      climate change is not just a global issue.

      "There are things that we can do, and we can take action," he said.

      Kelly and Ainsworth said the whole community should weigh in on the debate.

      "This is a community issue," Ainsworth said. "It touches energy. It
      touches transportation, and it touches how you cook your meals."

      Kelly said the panel doesn't think it has all the answers but said
      members can lay out what the scientific f

      igures mean to the community.

      "As scientists we have something to add to the discussion, but we
      should by no means necessarily be leaders of the conversation," he
      said. "The policy has to involve obviously a lot more than the
      scientific minds of the community."

      Kelly said it will take business leaders and policymakers to use the
      panel's report to steer the community in the right direction.

      "It's much harder to get a handle on is how will this translate into
      the socioeconomic impacts," he said. "What is this going to do to
      tourism?"

      Ainsworth said the report will help tighten what scientists know about
      the climate change and present it in a community-friendly way.

      "It's going to take this cosmic science thing and bring it down to the
      dinner table, I think," he said.

      Kelly said he didn't want to give a firm date on when the report will
      be completed but indicated during the meeting he hoped to present it
      to the mayor by the middle of next month. He said the report will be
      presented to the Assembly and possibly other community forums during
      the fall or winter.

      "I think it's a good sign that the community of Juneau has the
      foresight to take a look ahead at this time and see what we can
      learn," Ainsworth said.

      • Eric Morrison can be reached at eric.morrison@....



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      Pat N
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