Door County, Wisconsin

7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015

Joel Charles, M.D./M.P.H.

Crossroads at Big Creek
2041 Michigan St., Sturgeon Bay

Charles will discuss the most recent findings on climate change, how it will affect our health and how current energy practices impact health. He will offer clear policy prescriptions and suggest actions that
health professionals and others can take to address these issues.

Joel Charles is a family medicine resident in Santa Rosa, California, who in his Master of Public Health program focused on the health impacts of climate change. He advocates for responsible climate policy and is helping build a network to give health professionals efficient, effective ways to make health a central piece of the climate change conversation.

Click here for the flyer: Charles flyer

Click here for the News Release: Joel Charles News Release

  • Earth’s atmosphere uses solar energy to run a so-called ‘heat engine’
  • This engine circulates air and heat, and is ultimately responsible for storms
  • Experts have studied how climate change impacts how this engine works
  • They compared records from 1981 to 2012 with simulations up to 2098
  • Third of the energy is involved with water moving through the atmosphere
  • But, climate change causes the atmosphere to use more energy during this part of the cycle, which creates more evaporation and precipitation
  • This limits how much energy is used as part of the circulation cycle
  • Atmosphere still needs to get rid of the precipitation it collects, but subsequently has to do it in fewer, more intense storms

By Victoria Woollaston for MailOnline

Published: 12:41 EST, 2 February 2015 | Updated: 12:50 EST, 2 February 2015

For years, scientists have predicted that as global warming heats the Earth, the number of storms will increase.

But, new research suggests that instead of increasing in number, these storms will increase in intensity – meaning the same number of storms will occur, but they’ll be stronger.

The physicists said that this is because global warming will directly affect how the atmosphere circulates air mass, heat and water using what’s been dubbed ‘Earth’s heat engine.’

crop-map-630

The ongoing drought in California has been, among other things, a powerful lesson in how vulnerable America’s agricultural sector is to climate change. Even if that drought wasn’t specifically caused by human-made global warming, scientists have little doubt that droughts and heatwaves are going to get more frequent and severe in important crop-growing regions. In California, the cost in 2014 was staggering: $2.2 billion in losses and added expenses, plus 17,000 lost jobs, according to a UC-Davis study.

California is country’s hub for fruits, veggies, and nuts. But what about the commodity grains grown in the Midwest, where the U.S. produces over half its corn and soy? That’s the subject of a new report by the climate research group headed by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, and billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer (whorecently shut down rumors that he might run for Senate).

The report is all about climate impacts expected in the Midwest, and the big takeaway is that future generations have lots of very sweaty summers in store. One example: “The average Chicago resident is expected to experience more days over 95 degrees F by the century’s end than the average Texan does today.” The report also predicts that electricity prices will increase, with potential ramifications for the region’s manufacturing sector, and that beloved winter sports — ice fishing, anyone? — will become harder to do.

But some of the most troublesome findings are about agriculture. Some places will fare better than others; northern Minnesota, for example, could very well find itself benefiting from global warming. But overall, the report says, extreme heat, scarcer water resources, and weed and insect invasions will drive down corn and soybean yields by 11 to 69 percent by the century’s end. Note that these predictions assume no “significant adaptation,” so there’s an opportunity to soften the blow withsolutions like better water management, switching to more heat-tolerant crops like sorghum, or the combination of genetic engineering and data technology nowbeing pursued by Monsanto.

The map above is from the report showing which states’ farmers could benefit from climate change — and which ones will lose big time.

Join us for a 4-week learning expedition exploring the exciting weather of the Great Lakes Region, changes underway, and societal impacts of our changing climate. Click HERE to watch the video!

Feb 23, 2015 – Mar 30th 2015
Future Sessions

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Course at a Glance

Instructors

About the Course

This 4-week course will feature a new season each week through short lectures and activities covering Great Lakes weather, observed changes in the climate, and societal impacts of climate change. Along with sharing our passion for weather and climate, we’ll convey information from NOAA’s National Weather Service (NWS) Weather-Ready Nation initiative as well as findings from the recent National Climate Assessment and the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI).

Learn how the mid-latitude location of the Great Lakes Region and the influence of five massive and stunning fresh-water lakes combine to create exhilarating weather systems each season. Winters are cold and snowy; spring brings thunderstorms, heavy rains and tornadoes; summers are hot and humid and the transition to autumn paves the way for especially windy storms like the one that sunk the Edmund Fitzgerald. On top of all this, climate change is adding to the complexity. Numerous observations demonstrate that the climate of the Great Lakes Region is changing. Average temperatures are getting warmer and extreme heat events are occurring more frequently. Total precipitation is increasing and heavy precipitation events are becoming more common. Winters are getting shorter and duration of lake ice cover is decreasing. We’ll share the data with you before focusing on people and communities adjusting to these changes. And to slow the rate of future climate change, we’ll share actions you can take that benefit you and everyone who loves the weather and climate of the Great Lakes Region.

At the rate things are going, the Earth in the coming decades could cease to be a “safe operating space” for human beings. That is the conclusion of a new paper published Thursday in the journal Science by 18 researchers trying to gauge the breaking points in the natural world.

The paper contends that we have already crossed four “planetary boundaries.” They are the extinction rate; deforestation; the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; and the flow of nitrogen and phosphorous (used on land as fertilizer) into the ocean.

“What the science has shown is that human activities — economic growth, technology, consumption — are destabilizing the global environment,” said Will Steffen, who holds appointments at the Australian National University and the Stockholm Resilience Center and is the lead author of the paper.

Declaration to Environment

Declaration

Declaration_Environmental Laureates_Monday 15 Sept 2014

Dear Students:

You don’t know me but, right now, I am deeply affecting your future.

I am the CEO of a Fortune 250 company, NRG Energy, which generates enough electricity to keep the lights on for roughly 40 million Americans. That’s a lot and that’s a good thing. Indeed, all of us at NRG are very proud that what we do enables the interconnected lifestyles that define the human experience in the 21st century.

mitigateclimate

But we at NRG are concerned that the predominant fuels we and the other companies in our industry are using—and have used since the time of Thomas Edison—to keep you energized are ultimately exhaustible and, of even greater and more immediate concern, are having a damaging and potentially irrevocable impact on the world that you are in the process of inheriting from us and ultimately will bequeath to your own children.

How immediate?

A remarkable consensus of the world’s leading scientists and academic experts, some of which come from your own university, tell us that we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent (from present levels) by 2050 in order to avoid potentially catastrophic harm to the Earth’s environment. In a growing world, that size reduction is breathtakingly difficult to accomplish. You can be assured that it won’t “just happen.”

Now I am pretty sure that you don’t spend much of your day worrying about the state of the environment 36 years from now and that is a good thing. If life has taught me one thing so far, it is that you should try to “live in the moment” to the fullest extent possible.

But spare one of those moments now to think about where you will be in 2050.

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