Local Experts Weigh in on Climate Change

By Mallory Lane

Published 05/07 2014 05:53PM

Updated 05/07 2014 06:23PM

STATE COLLEGE, CENTRE COUNTY - Climate change is here - at least that's what a new White House report says.

The latest National Climate Assessment, released Tuesday, is written every four years. This year, experts said climate change is here and it's drastically affecting Americans right now, especially Pennsylvanians.

More than 300 scientists weighed in on the most recent climate change report, saying many parts of the United States are already seeing some change.

Some experts we spoke with completely agree with the report. Others choose to differ.

Dr. Michael Mann, Director of Director of Penn State's Earth System Science Center, said change is here.

"Climate change isn't just some distant threat that impacts polar bears up in the Arctic," he said. "It's hitting us now, where we live."

The latest report predicts the Northeast will experience warmer winters and less snowfall. Mountainous regions will see more intense precipitation with greater risks of flooding.

Mann is worried.

"It's impacting us now, negatively, when it comes to issues like food security," he said. "When it comes to our ability to get the fresh water we need in many parts of the country, when it comes to drought, heat stress, wildfire in the western United States, extreme flooding."

He said these changes were predicted by scientists decades ago. The good news?

"There is still time to do something about the problem," Mann said. "We need to find a way to meet our energy needs in a way that doesn't continue to put more of this carbon pollution into the atmosphere."

WeatherBELL Analytics Chief Forecaster Joe Bastardi does not think the assessment is accurate.

"No, I don't agree with it," he said. "Spend an hour and go back and look at the weather history and climate of the United States. You'll find that things were far worse than what they are now."

Instead, he said the climate was far worse back in the 1930s.

"We had 90 percent of the record highs in this country in the 1930s, yet we had violent winters, very severe winters," Bastardi said. "Why is it now Co2 when before it was just nature?"

There is one thing he agrees with.

"Rapid reaction centers to extreme weather, I think that's a good idea," Bastardi said. "You go back and you understand why the population is the way it is. We have to figure out that there are more people in harms way."

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