Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Scientists Highlight Copenhagen’s Importance; Future Storms Likely to Cause Greater Damage

Dr. Kevin Hamilton in HPR's studios.
The news about climate change and emission mitigation is coming so fast it’s piling up on itself. The kickoff of the UN’s Copenhagen conference seemed like a good day for the US Environmental Protection Agency to declare greenhouse gas emissions a threat to public health.

That and other news was highlighted in this week’s Energy Futures program with guests Dr. John Barnes, principal investigator for the Mauna Loa Observatory, and Dr. Kevin Hamilton, University of Hawaii professor of meteorology and interim director of the International Pacific Research Center.

Barnes (at right) described the work of the observatory since 1958 in measuring the increasing amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere 11,155 above sea level on the volcano’s slope. Those measurements have seen CO2 increase from 315 ppm in 1958 to 387 ppm recently. Barnes noted that the rate of increase is increasing.

Hamilton’s climate modeling work suggests that the intensity of cyclones and hurricanes is likely to increase by at least 10 percent due to the warming of the sea and atmosphere as greenhouse gases accumulate. Combined with sea level rise, future storms could be all the more destructive when they crash into islands and coastal regions.

Yesterday’s Energy Futures program will be archived at the Hawaii Public Radio website later today and will be available there for the next month or more. Energy Futures is broadcast “live” 5-6 pm HST on Mondays on KIPO-FM (89.3 in Hawaii) and via HPR’s website with audio streaming.

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