State Climatologist Warns of Climate Change Impact

By Bill O’Neil

The State’s Climatologist believes climate change must bring a fundamental shift in the way dams and other fail-safe structures are designed in order to allow them to withstand ferocious storms that seem to be happening more and more.

John Nielsen-Gammon said past storms are no longer a reliable way of measuring the way to design future projects.

Speaking Friday at an engineers conference in San Marcos, Nielsen-Gammon said climate change means powerful storms are unleashing significantly more rain than they did decades ago.

He also said if sea surface temperatures rise by 1 1/2 degrees celsius that could result in a 10% increase in the amount of rain a storm produces–which needs to be considered in the design of dams, nuclear facilities and other structures.

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