Climate Forum Talks About Drought - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Climate Forum Talks About Drought

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Climate experts are discussing what we can do for the future in the drought.  A forum on Wednesday afternoon summarized the climate conditions for the entire Great Basin, and how they affect resources like agriculture and wildlife. 

These forums are important because experts say climate not only has a big impact on our region, but experts say it also affects our economy.

Kelly Redmond is a regional climatologist for the Desert Research Institute and said, "Weather and climate put together affect about 15 to 20 percent of the U.S. economy. That's in the range of one or two trillion dollars a year. 

Local experts shared their research and advice for the future in light of this ongoing drought that we're in.

"We've been focusing on issues like the continuing drought. Basically, the lack of very interesting weather, too many nice days and the consequences as they continue to pile up,” said Redmond. 

Present conditions of the Great Basin for the spring and summer climate had some researchers worried.

"Some of the lakes have dried up and that has affected the tribes and their fisheries. We heard about how the drought is impacting pinyon-juniper trees and it's causing them to die off prematurely," said Todd Hopkins, the science coordinator for Great Basin.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, those pinyon-juniper trees cover over 100 million acres across the western U.S. If drought conditions continue, experts said we could see a massive die-off of the forests throughout the Great Basin. 

And looking at our water supply, Lake Tahoe has seen 8 major long-term droughts in the last 100 years. So the question asked at this spring's forum was, "What can we learn from the last four years of drought?"

"It's not about climate change that you hear about a lot. But this is about the regular climate that we experience, whatever is going on with it. What has happened over the previous winter and how that sets things up for the summer,” said Redmond. 

Experts want to continue these climate forums for the Great Basin for people to better understand the climate and how to make better decisions based on this warmer weather. 

The Desert Research Institute has these forums twice a year, so this coming fall they will reevaluate their data on how conditions either improved or declined. 

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