Gov. Baldacci asks for research on the potential effects of climate change on the state.
The University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute is beginning a study of global warming’s potential effects on the state and steps that could help Maine prepare.
Gov. John Baldacci asked for the “Maine Climate Change Assessment,” saying that state policymakers need the best available science. The Orono-based researchers are expected to report back to Baldacci by November 2008.
The effects of climate change are the focus of intense scientific research that includes members of the UMaine institute who travel to places like Antarctica and Greenland to document changes in the global climate. A focused, regional study like the one requested by Baldacci is more unusual and more difficult because of the complexities of the climate and other natural systems.
In general, previous studies have concluded that the Northeast faces warmer summers with more heat waves, droughts and extreme storms, and milder winters with less snow and more rain. Coastal damage from rising sea levels and reduced air quality are also projected here.
Baldacci asked professor Paul Mayewski, the institute’s director, to report back on potential climate scenarios for Maine through the end of this century, effects and opportunities, research needs and a framework for keeping policymakers informed about climate change science.
The team of scientists will include UMaine researchers in the Sen. George J. Mitchell Center for Environmental and Watershed Research, the Margaret Chase Smith Center for Public Policy and the Center for Research on Sustainable Forests.
UMaine professors George Jacobson and Ivan Fernandez, both of whom are affiliated with the Climate Change Institute, have drafted an outline for the project.
“The climate of the 21st century will be quite different from that of the last century,” Jacobson and Fernandez wrote. “Decision making by government agencies, business leaders, research managers, and private citizens will necessarily be influenced by that reality. We should not be dealing with climate change as an isolated issue while everything else remains business as usual.”