WVII interviews Birkel about new UMaine climate report

WVII (Channel 7) interviewed Sean Birkel, a University of Maine research assistant professor and Maine State Climatologist, about the Coastal Maine Climate Futures Report he recently released in collaboration with Paul Mayewski, director of the Climate Change Institute at UMaine. The researchers used weather data dating back to 1895 to track climate change throughout Maine’s history and make predictions of “plausible climate scenarios for the next 20 years,” Birkel told WVII. The average coastal temperature in Maine and sea surface temperature have both increased by 3 degrees since January 1895, and rainfall has increased by about 6 inches, the report states. Melting of the polar ice cap due to greenhouse gas emissions and increases in frequency of El Nino warm and dry weather conditions are key factors in Maine’s warming trend, WVII reported. The pair hopes the report will inform people in Maine about the reality of climate change and how it can affect them, and that they will take this into consideration when planning for the near future. “Climate change and the prospect for difficult times in the future in adapting to rising sea levels and more extreme storms, it can be overwhelming and I think a lot of people feel that,” said Birkel. “I think there are many positive steps we can take at the local level, at the very least making sure we are prepared.”