Historical data about weather patterns and extreme events contain valuable information for city planners and other decision makers. But Ian Kraucunas, a researcher at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, says we also need to look at climate projections.

Kraucunas: “Past performance is not indicative of future gains as they like to say in the stock market, and I think that same message is true about climate change.”

PhotoKraucunas says climate change is essentially loading the dice and increasing the odds that events that used to be rare, like rolling double sixes, will become more and more frequent.

Kraucunas: “We need to start incorporating climate change into everyday decision making. Making sure that we use the best scientific evidence to understand what those risks are, where those risks are, and to the extent possible, what can be done to mitigate them.”

That means developing more drought and heat resistant crops; considering sea level rise and storm surge before constructing new buildings on the coast; and using wider culverts when building roads to better deal with floods.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photo: Copyright protected.

More Resources
Ian Kraucunas on Bridging the Science-Politics Divide for Climate Change
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) study
Trapped atmospheric waves triggering more weather extremes: Trend expected to continue

Lisa Palmer is a freelance journalist and a fellow at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, SESYNC, in Annapolis, Md. Her writing covers the environment, energy, food security, agriculture,...