USGS Multimedia Gallery
This text will be replaced
To embed this video, click "menu" on the video player toolbar.
If no transcript and/or closed-caption is available, please notify us.
Climate Connections: Visiting Students in North Carolina
Jessica Robertson: Hi! I'm Jessica Robertson and this is
USGS Climate Connections, where your climate change
questions are answered by USGS scientists. In this
episode, we talked to middle and high school students
from Mount Airy, North Carolina. We were beyond
impressed not only by how many questions they had,
but how advanced and challenging the questions were.
Let's go ahead and meet the students and see some of
the questions they had for our scientists.
Question 1. Elizabeth Dinkins: My name is Elizabeth
Dinkins. I go to Mount Airy High School. I would like to
know if all scientists agree that climate change is actually occurring.
Robert Hirsch: I'm Bob Hirsch of the U.S. Geological
Survey. Elizabeth, let me try to answer your question.
There is a strong scientific consensus that there is
global warming occurring and that human activities are
at least a part of the driving mechanisms for that. We
know a few things particularly well like that there is
more warming occurring near the poles than there is in
the mid-latitudes. And one of the very difficult parts of
climate change research is really trying to untangle the
part which is natural variability from the part that is
driven by human activities. But as I said, the scientific
consensus is quite strong that humans are contributing
to that warming.
Question 2. Hassan Moore: Hi, my name is Hassan
Moore and I'm a sixth grader at Mount Airy Middle
School. I like to fish. Will climate change affect the water levels and populations of fish?
Elda Varela-Acevedo: Hi Hassan! I'm Elda Varela-
Acevedo from the USGS and I'm the Climate Change
and Fish Habitat Project Coordinator. To address your
question, we do expect to see certain changes with
climate change. Warm-water fish such as smallmouth
bass are expected to expand their range, which means
they might be found further north and you'll be able to
catch them in more areas. However, other fish species
that are cold-water fish species such as lake trout will
probably see their habitat area decline, meaning that
they'll be found in less areas.
Also, the season in which you fish may be affected by
climate change. For example, for people that ice fish,
they’ll probably find that the earlier ice melt in the
spring will probably decrease their ice fishing season.
So in summary, the type of fish you fish for and when
and where you fish it may be affected by climate
change. Thank you, Hassan. That was a great question
and I hope I answered it today.
Question 3. Hayden Culler: My name is Hayden Culler.
I'm in eighth grade. Could the climate dramatically or
abruptly change? Or will it happen slowly overtime?
Joan Fitzpatrick: So Hayden, the answer to your
question is yes in both instances. The climate of the
Earth has been shown to change both rapidly and
slowly. Those slow changes can take as long as millions
of years to hundreds of thousands of years to tens of
thousands of years. And those abrupt changes can take
place in a matter of one to two years in certain locations.
Jessica Robertson: Thank you Joan. So Hayden, as an
example, research has shown that there may be an
abrupt period of increased drought in the southwest
during the 21st century. Also, sea level may rise slowly
or rapidly depending on how much and how fast the
ice sheets and glaciers around the world melt. Abrupt
changes in climate, should they occur, will cause
substantial disruptions to society and natural systems
with little time to prepare.
Question 4. Joao Bellon: Hi, my name is Joao Bellon
and I go to Mount Airy High School. The floor that we
are in currently is heated by geothermal energy and
my question was what are the advantages and
disadvantages of geothermal energy and the climate affects that it has?
Brenda Pierce: Hi! I'm Brenda Pierce. I manage the
Energy Resources Program at the U.S. Geological
Survey. You've asked a very advanced question and so
let me breakdown the answer into several parts. First,
let me define a couple of terms. Geothermal energy is
energy harnessed from the internal heat of the Earth
and used to produce energy sources or electricity.
Geothermal is a form of renewable energy and
renewable energy is that type of energy that is
constant or replenish-able like wind, solar, and
geothermal. Second, your question about its
relationship to climate change. Geothermal energy
emits very little CO2, which a greenhouse gas that has
been linked to global warming. So, that means
geothermal energy may have the potential to offset
higher CO2 emitting energy sources in the future.
Jessica Robertson: That's it for this episode. Join us
again next time for USGS Climate Connections. I'm Jessica Robertson.
Title: Climate Connections: Visiting Students in North Carolina (Episode 1)
America has questions about climate change, and the USGS has real answers. In this episode of Climate Connections, USGS scientists answer questions gathered from middle and high school students in Mt. Airy, NC.
Location: Mt. Airy, NC, USA
Date Taken: 4/21/2011
Note: This video has been released into the public domain by the U.S. Geological Survey for use in its entirety. Some videos may contain pieces of copyrighted material. If you wish to use a portion of the video for any purpose, other than for resharing/reposting the video in its entirety, please contact the Video Producer/Videographer listed with this video. Please refer to the USGS Copyright section for how to credit this video.
Appears as part of the USGS CoreCast series
Director: Ray Douglas
Producer: Jessica Robertson
Additional Video Credits: Don Becker
Suggest an update to the information/tags?
* DOI and USGS link and privacy policies apply.