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Climate Connections: Questions from North and South Carolina
Jessica Robertson: Welcome to USGS Climate Connections, where your questions about climate change are answered by USGS scientists. Iím your host, Jessica Robertson.
In this episode, we were greeted with true southern hospitality as we traveled through North and South Carolina. Letís go ahead and see what questions they had about climate change.
Amber Lary: Hello, my name is Amber and we are currently in Charleston. I would like to know how does climate change affect the coast, where can I learn more about it and how can it affect me in the future as well?
John Haines: Great question, Amber. Iím John Haines, a geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey. Our coastal communities, natural resources and beaches are some of the most vulnerable places to climate change, particularly sea-level rise. Already, storms, erosion and flooding are impacting these coastal areas, and with sea-level rise, theyíll reach further inland, theyíll happen more frequently and probably with more intensity. You live in the low country and itís named that for a reason. Itís particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise impacts. Fortunately, there are lots of information resources from the USGS, NOAA, state agencies and academic institutions. I suggest you go to the web and search for ďSouth Carolina and sea-level riseĒ and you will find lots to learn about. I hope that answers your question.
Catrina Alexander: I have a question for you. What are scientists currently doing to help communities prepare for the effects of global warming in our areas of rivers and streams?
Robert Hirsch: Iím glad you asked that question. Iím Bob Hirsch, hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey. We know that climate change does influence water resources. It changes the amount of evaporation that occurs. It changes the kind of precipitation that occurs Ė less snow, more rain. It changes the timing of snowmelt. All of these things can contribute to changes in our water supply for our farms, for our factories, for our cities. It can also change the size of floods, which are so important for the safety of our citizens. The USGS contributes to helping understand this problem by collecting data at over 7,000 rivers across the nation. The connections are complicated and weíre working to try to understand them.
Pearl Fryar: Iím Pearl Fryar from Bishopville, South Carolina, and this is my garden. You always have to plant trees. How can I do something that I know is having an effect on climate change? Because I donít know that much about it and Iíd love to know what can I do.
Zhiliang Zhu: Hi Pearl, you ask a great question. Yes, planting more trees and restoring native vegetation will help with climate change. That is because plants absorb CO2 out of the atmosphere and convert CO2 into carbon and store the carbon in plants and in soils.
Michelle Ortega: Definitely my question for the scientists would be like, you know, what do we know now that we didnít know back then during President Jimmy Carterís reign?
Jonathan Smith: Iím Jonathan Smith, the Program Coordinator of the Geographic Analysis and Monitoring Program here at the USGS. Since the 1970s, weíve gathered a lot more information on the characteristics of the earth. Since the early 1970s, weíve launched six Landsat satellite systems that take pictures of the earth and allow us to analyze the changes in vegetation and in glaciers over time. Also since the 1970s, weíve tremendously increased our computational power that allows us to analyze very large datasets in order to identify the changes that have occurred. In short, weíve had both increases in the data that we can analyze and the ability to analyze this information through our computers.
Jessica Robertson: Thatís it for this episode. Join us again next time for Climate Connections.
Title: Climate Connections: Questions from North and South Carolina
America has questions about climate change, and the USGS has real answers. In this episode of Climate Connections, USGS scientists answer questions gathered from North and South Carolina.
Date Taken: 7/28/2011
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Appears as part of the USGS CoreCast series
Director: Ray Douglas
Producer: Jessica Robertson
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