Town hall forum highlights regional climate data
(From left) Romina King, program director of the University of Guam Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center and vice chair of the Climate Change Resiliency Commission; Evangeline Lujan, senior regulatory analyst for Guam Waterworks Authority and chair of the CCRC; Lt. Gov. Joshua Tenorio; Wendy Miles, program manager, Pacific Regional Integrated Sciences & Assessments program; and Zena Grecni, sustained climate assessment specialist of Pacific RISA.
A University of Guam town hall forum on Oct. 28 shared highly anticipated data and projections on how the Pacific region will be affected by climate change and, specifically, how Guam will fare in the current century.
Wendy Miles, program manager of the Pacific Regional Integrated Sciences & Assessments program, and Zena Grecni, a sustained climate assessment specialist with the organization, presented key findings of the “Fourth National Climate Assessment,” a federally mandated study that pools hundreds of authors and contributors to deliver scientific evidence of climate variability and change. Grecni, who was involved in the most recent assessment released in November 2018, touched on information relative to the Hawaii and U.S.-affiliated Pacific islands.
“This information was sourced from people who live and work in these regions. Authors tried to reflect values that people have: What do we care about? What assets do we have in our cultures and our communities that we want to see sustained into the future? And how is climate change going to affect those things we value?” Grecni said.
The “Fourth National Climate Assessment” sums up the Pacific region’s data in the following points:
The Pacific RISA team also presented preliminary summaries of the “Pacific Integrated Regional Climate Assessment,” which Miles said is “the most comprehensive assessment of climate knowledge and adaptation for the U.S.-affiliated Pacific Islands region to date.” The latest edition of this assessment is set to be released at the end of this year, but early data echoed findings from the “Fourth National Climate Assessment” and a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study, co-authored by UOG Water & Environmental Research Institute Director John W. Jenson, on potential adverse impacts on Guam’s freshwater resources from climate change and sea level rise.
Key takeaways from PIRCA’s Guam data included:
Miles and Grecni were also in Guam to receive feedback from local stakeholders on the PIRCA report. They provided a similar presentation during the Climate Change Resiliency Commission workshop on Oct. 29, engaging government officials, federal partners, natural resource managers, and scientists for input that will assist in finalizing this year’s report.
The town hall forum was hosted by the UOG Pacific Islands Climate Adaptation Science Center. Program Director Romina King facilitated the evening’s discussions and shared helpful information in UOG PI-CASC’s efforts to deliver resources on climate change impacts.
“As we’re already seeing the negative effects of climate change affecting our world, it is very crucial that we embrace more of these discussions so that we can keep the community involved and prepare them for the worst,” King said. “UOG PI-CASC will continue to support research and science that will equip Guam’s decision makers and planners with the resources to build a resilient island.”