ORNL scientists participate in national study on climate change

ORNL scientists participate in national study on climate change

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Fifteen scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory took part in a national study to examine the effects of climate change. Fifteen scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory took part in a national study to examine the effects of climate change.
By SAMANTHA MANNING
6 News Reporter

OAK RIDGE (WATE) - Fifteen scientists from Oak Ridge National Laboratory took part in a national study to examine the effects of climate change.

The group focused on the impact of climate change on critical urban infrastructure including water, electric and transportation systems over the next 50 years.

The group said extreme weather events like Hurricane Sandy in the northeast and the wildfires in the west are all effects of climate change.

"The climate impacts are going to cause increased frequency of these extreme events," Senior Research & Development staff member at ORNL Steven Fernandez said.

Fernandez said East Tennessee is expected to see wetter weather.

"Within East Tennessee, we're going to see an increase in precipitation,” Fernandez said. “We’re going to see extreme events as far as what we've seen over the last winter, extreme cold in the winter, increased heat in the summer."

The purpose of the research is to inform local governments and communities about the climate effects expected in each region so they can prepare infrastructure systems to be sustainable.

“We chose to look at the electrical infrastructure because once that is affected, it can be cascaded throughout the rest of the infrastructure," PhD Candidate in Energy Science and Engineering at the University of Tennessee, Melissa Allen said.

Allen said if coastal areas deal with rising sea levels, that population will likely shift elsewhere, leading to a greater demand for electricity.

"Those cascading effects have to be treated wholly, not just one at a time," Fernandez said.

According to the report, some cities, including New York City, have already started to implement risk management plans related to climate change.
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