Climate Change Committee prepares for the heat - Tucson News Now

Climate Change Committee prepares for the heat

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Most people don't knowTucson has a climate change committee but it does. It has 13 members and meets monthly.

According to the committee, Tucson is on average, 2 1/2 degrees warmer now, than it was in 1970.

It doesn't sound like much, but it can have profound effects.

Because heat is used to generate energy, a small increase in temperatures will affect weather events like rainstorms, droughts or heatwaves.

It will make them measurably more intense or prolonged.

Tucson is just coming off the hottest summer ever. Rainstorms may be more isolated but they drop more rain in a short period of time, pack higher velocity winds and cause more damage.

The committee is made up of lay people, educators, bureaucrats and scientists, like Dr. Jonathan Overpeck, from the University of Arizona, and Jane  Poynter, who spent two years locked in the Biosphere.

Leslie Ethen, Director of the Office of Conservation and Sustainble Development for the city of Tucson, who is coordinating the committee, says one reason the committee is important here is because Tucson has so many vulnerable people, those with respiratory problems or heart problems which can be affected by heat.

She says Tucson, because it is in the desert, has already reached a threshold of tolerance in terms of people's ability to deal with the heat and also with the consumption of water.

Tucson Water is working with the committee to find ways to help conserve the water which is important as the temperatures rise but also as the area's population increases as well.

The committee will help the city of Tucson establish policy to help people deal with the changes due to climate.

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