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Contact: Tom Parisi, NIU Office of Public Affairs
April 24, 2007
DeKalb, Ill. — Northern Illinois University climatologist David Changnon will be among the experts featured in a new TV special on global warming that will air at 6 p.m. Saturday, April 28, on CBS Channel 2 in Chicago.
CBS 2 Meteorologist Steve Baskerville will host the one-hour special, titled “Truth About Global Warming.” He visited the NIU campus earlier this month to interview Changnon.
Changnon, a professor in the Department of Geography, spent an hour with Baskerville discussing potential impacts of climate change.
“The scientific community has come to an overwhelming consensus that the climate of the planet is changing and that there is a significant probability that those changes are related to enhanced levels of greenhouse gas emissions,” says Changnon, who specializes in the study of climate variability and its economic impacts.
“For me, the big question is this: How do we use the information that scientists are gathering?” he adds.
Baskerville was particularly interested in questions surrounding the impacts of climate change on Chicago and the Great Lakes region. Changnon has conducted studies on El Nino winters, demonstrating how warmer winters in the region have affected the economy.
“There’s going to be costs and benefits in the region,” he said. “Warmer winters would mean less use of natural gas, for example, and also would improve transportation scenarios. But in the summertime there could be greater opportunity for drought and poor crop yields or even deadly heat waves like the one the Chicago area experienced in 1995.”
Changnon believes scientists need to get together with industry leaders in such areas as fuel, agriculture and transportation to learn more about how global warming would impact those sectors.
“A dialogue between the scientific community and those potentially impacted by climate needs to be developed sooner rather than later,” Changnon says.
“I believe that the next set of climate models need to examine issues at the regional and seasonal, if not weekly, scales,” he adds. “These are the space and time scales where we can develop strategies for the future. We can move in this direction if the scientific community and weather-sensitive decision makers sit down and develop a greater understanding of how, when and where weather impacts certain sectors."