Climate Connections: Questions from North and South Carolina

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Detailed Description

America has questions about climate change, and the USGS has real answers. In this episode of Climate Connections, USGS scientists answer questions gathered from North and South Carolina.


Episode Number: 162

Date Taken:

Length: 05:28:00

Location Taken: US



Jessica Robertson: Welcome to USGS Climate Connections, where your

questions about climate change are answered by USGS scientists. I’m your

host, Jessica Robertson.

In this episode, we were greeted with true southern hospitality as we

traveled through North and South Carolina. Let’s go ahead and see what

questions they had about climate change.

Question 1.

Amber Lary: Hello, my name is Amber and we are currently in Charleston. I

would like to know how does climate change affect the coast, where can I

learn more about it and how can it affect me in the future as well?

John Haines: Great question, Amber. I’m John Haines, a geologist with the

U.S. Geological Survey. Our coastal communities, natural resources and

beaches are some of the most vulnerable places to climate change,

particularly sea-level rise. Already, storms, erosion and flooding are

impacting these coastal areas, and with sea-level rise, they’ll reach

further inland, they’ll happen more frequently and probably with more

intensity. You live in the low country and it’s named that for a reason.

It’s particularly vulnerable to sea-level rise impacts. Fortunately,

there are lots of information resources from the USGS, NOAA, state

agencies and academic institutions. I suggest you go to the web and

search for “South Carolina and sea-level rise” and you will find lots to

learn about. I hope that answers your question.

Question 2.

Catrina Alexander: I have a question for you. What are scientists

currently doing to help communities prepare for the effects of global

warming in our areas of rivers and streams?

Robert Hirsch: I’m glad you asked that question. I’m Bob Hirsch,

hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey. We know that climate change

does influence water resources. It changes the amount of evaporation that

occurs. It changes the kind of precipitation that occurs – less snow,

more rain. It changes the timing of snowmelt. All of these things can

contribute to changes in our water supply for our farms, for our

factories, for our cities. It can also change the size of floods, which

are so important for the safety of our citizens. The USGS contributes to

helping understand this problem by collecting data at over 7,000 rivers

across the nation. The connections are complicated and we’re working to

try to understand them.

Question 3.

Pearl Fryar: I’m Pearl Fryar from Bishopville, South Carolina, and this

is my garden. You always have to plant trees. How can I do something that

I know is having an effect on climate change? Because I don’t know that

much about it and I’d love to know what can I do.

Zhiliang Zhu: Hi Pearl, you ask a great question. Yes, planting more

trees and restoring native vegetation will help with climate change. That

is because plants absorb CO2 out of the atmosphere and convert CO2 into

carbon and store the carbon in plants and in soils.

Question 4.

Michelle Ortega: Definitely my question for the scientists would be like,

you know, what do we know now that we didn’t know back then during

President Jimmy Carter’s reign?

Jonathan Smith: I’m Jonathan Smith, the Program Coordinator of the

Geographic Analysis and Monitoring Program here at the USGS. Since the

1970s, we’ve gathered a lot more information on the characteristics of

the earth. Since the early 1970s, we’ve launched six Landsat satellite

systems that take pictures of the earth and allow us to analyze the

changes in vegetation and in glaciers over time. Also since the 1970s,

we’ve tremendously increased our computational power that allows us to

analyze very large datasets in order to identify the changes that have

occurred. In short, we’ve had both increases in the data that we can

analyze and the ability to analyze this information through our


Jessica Robertson: That’s it for this episode. Join us again next time

for Climate Connections.