Photo by Loy Elliott

LOCAL CLIMATE CHANGE: HOW A CHANGING CLIMATE IS AFFECTING THE SOUTH MOUNTAIN REGION

Climate change is a controversial topic, and explanations for its cause are debated in government, in the media and around the dinner table. Look further and the long and short term ramifications of climate change emerge, and may be investigated at multiple levels, from global to local. The final Speakers Series event of 2014 focused on a discussion about how climate change is affecting South Mountain and Pennsylvania. Shippensburg University earth science professor Tim Hawkins introduced the discussion, drawing upon his own research as well as the research of the broader climatology community to describe historic weather and climate patterns and extremes for the South Mountain region. Dr. Hawkins outlined projections of future shifts in climate, as well as the important local, state, federal and international decisions that we face in light of these changes. A group of panelists followed: Ben Wenk, Three Springs Fruit Farm, provided a first-hand account of changes he is witnessing on the growing seasons on his farm; Dr. Jeff Niemitz, Dickinson College, shared the research his has been doing on the impacts of climate change on local flood events and what that means for the South Mountain landscape; and Dr. Marc McDill, Penn State University, outlined how Pennsylvania’s hardwood forests are responding to changing climatic patterns.

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