Tag Archives: Climate Survey

Oklahoma is “Ground Truth” for Climate Change Research

Oklahoma is well known for its climate change deniers, but did you know that Oklahoma is also considered a rock star, so to speak, by those who study climate change?

A research paper published in February in Nature showed that carbon dioxide is indeed trapping heat in the earth’s atmosphere. The study backs up what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been saying all along. The research was conducted by scientists from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. They concluded that the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased by 22 parts per million from 2000-2010.

The data came from two climate research facilities in the United States. One is in Barrow, Alaska and the other is right here in Oklahoma…Lamont, OK to be precise. The small town is located in Grant County, west of I-35 along Highway 60. The town’s mayor writes on Lamont’s website, “Lamont is a classic small town, where everyone knows your name, a neighbor is not just someone who lives next door, and the community is your family.” 

The climate research site in Lamont is operated by the U.S. Department of Energy. The main facility covers 160 acres of land around Lamont. You can read all about the facility here and see a map of where weather research stations are located in Oklahoma.

One of the researchers for this new study is Dr. Daniel Feldman. Here’s what he told me about the role Oklahoma is playing in the study of climate change, “The site in Oklahoma that was used for this research is actually pretty famous in the atmospheric science community, because it is heavily instrumented and has been for over two decades now. The idea for this site is to make a whole lot of high quality measurements to improve scientific understanding of atmospheric science, including weather, how thunderstorms and tornadoes form, cloud formation, interactions between the land and the atmosphere, and many other research topics. The site’s data has been used by researchers to advance science many, many times, and often is referred to as a “ground truth” because of the quality of the data there, its accessibility, and its comprehensive nature.”

So there you have it, regardless what the Senator with the Snowball says, climate change is real and Oklahoma is playing a major role in documenting it.

Megadroughts are Megabad

Oklahoma could be ground zero to some one of the worst droughts in a millennium. A new report in the journal Science Advances says the Great Plains and Southwest portion of the U.S. are in line for megadroughts over the next 100 years. Those are droughts that last more than 20 years. Researchers say we could see droughts that last as long as 35 years or more. This part of the world hasn’t seen droughts like that since the 1100s.

You guessed it, the drier conditions are mostly a result of rising greenhouse gases, according to the report.

My grandfather was a wheat farmer in north central Oklahoma all of his life. I remember visiting his farm as a child. The TV was never on except to watch the weather report and then no one could move or say a word. That weather report was his lifeline. You could sense his anguish if he needed rain and it wasn’t coming. I can’t imagine what a megadrought will do to our Oklahoma farmers.

I wonder when our state and national leaders will take this seriously? If reports like this don’t change some minds, I’m not sure what will.

 

 

Climate Talk with Dr. Kevin Kloesel

Dr. Kevin Kloesel is the director of the Oklahoma Climate Survey. He’s trained as an engineer and meteorologist. He studies climate change and its potential impact on Oklahoma.

In this brief video he talks about climate change…what it is and what scientists are looking for when they study it.

Guess we’ll just wish climate change away

A new study by the Georgetown Climate Center takes a look at what states are doing to prepare for climate change. If you look at Oklahoma’s page you can’t help but notice…nothing. Zero, zilch, nada. It simply says “Oklahoma has not developed a statewide adaptation plan”. How sad.

The study reports 14 states have climate adaptation plans, all are in various states of completion. California is the leader having met 48 of its 345 goals.

The goals can be anything from funding to protect infrastructure in case of a natural disaster, laws to reduce heat reflecting off concrete surfaces, or protecting homes in flood prone areas.

Sure would be nice if our state leaders would recognize the inevitable and, at least, develop a plan to deal with climate change. Maybe I’m crazy but it sure would be nice of them to protect this state they say the love.

I guess we’ll just click our heels and hope the problem just goes away.

Teachers Learn About Climate Change

Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education recently hosted a workshop for science teachers from Oklahoma and Texas. The teachers were given a first hand account of how the climate is changing and some of the best ways to teach it to their students. They were also given an update on various state laws that regulate how certain science topics are taught. I don’t understand why this is so controversial….wait a minute, yeah, it’s all about politics and money. There’s no doubt the climate is changing across the globe. The big question now is what are we going to do about it? I just hope it’s not too late.

Thanks to the OESE for letting me drop in on the workshop. Here’s a little story about my visit.