Climate Control event will focus on facts
March 29, 2013
A few weeks ago, Park City resident Brian McInerney, hydrologist for the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Salt Lake City, gave a presentation about snow melt and spring runoff for the Park City Newcomers Club.
During the lunchtime talk, McInerney touched on the idea of climate change and how that affected the hydrology of the area.
The speech impressed the club so much that a couple of its longtime members — Jim Pigg and Tom Daly — asked McInerney if he could do another speech just about climate change.
On Monday, April 1, McInerney will address that topic at Park City Community Church, 4501 S.R. 224, from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. Admission is $2.
The money will be used to help the church defray the cost of hosting the event.
"This topic has gotten quite popular because it’s, I believe, a direct result of people looking for some information about climate change," McInerney said during an interview with The Park Record. "My role is to give the most objective view of the science as possible."
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McInerney said he is only going to give the facts, because the concept of climate change has been twisted into a political hot potato that has been shot back and forth between the liberals and conservatives.
"That’s unfortunate, because this issue is really a big elephant in the room that will change things in the future," he said. "My main goal is to provide information about where we are with the science regarding climate change."
Being a hydrologist for the Weather Service means McInerney doesn’t do the research but analyzes it.
"I’ve been doing this job for more than 24 years and have studied the data, so I can talk about the snow pack and the runoff and how climate has affected them," he said.
In order to do this, the Weather Service sent McInerney to school where he learned not only the science of climate change, but also how the research is done and how to understand the statistics.
In addition, he’s attended seminars held by the scientists who do the research.
"I have found it interesting how much the public wants more information about climate change, and they want objective views from these scientists," McInerney said. "That’s what I do. I give them objective information that relies on the science and facts."
The reason McInerney likes the facts is that there are too many misconceptions about climate change.
"There are things that are known, things that are unknown and things that are inferred when it comes to this topic," he said. "What has happened is over the years is that those unknown and inferred things have been used to attack the scientists’ research, and people say climate change is part of a solar cycle or is the result of heat islands or that the records are poor.
"But when you look at the people who do the research and publish in the recognized science journals, they all agree that climate change is happening and people are causing it," McInerney said. "Unfortunately, these facts become twisted because people try to discredit these scientists."
Regardless, the scientists have moved on to other elements of their research.
"What they are doing, now, is trying to figure out if individual storms or weather irregularities are the result of climate change and whether or not things get more extreme," McInerney said.
When McInerney gives his presentation on Monday, he knows there will be skeptics in the audience.
"There are people who are pretty passionate about where they stand concerning climate change, and I’ve been in some very contentious meetings where people have gotten pretty agitated at what I say," McInerney explained. "When this happens, all I do is fall back onto the science.
"The political aspect is out of my league, but I know the science," he said. "I do hope the skeptics who come to the presentation go look up credible sources for themselves afterwards."
Park City resident Brian McInerney, hydrologist for the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Salt Lake City, will give a climate change presentation at Park City Community Church, 4501 S.R. 224, on Monday, April 1, from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. Admission is $2. For more information, contact Jim Pigg at (435) 655-0176.
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