Michigan Technological University researchers spoke to a standing-room-only crowd at the Carnegie Museum Thursday on the changing climate patterns and extreme weather conditions which contributed to the severity of the June 17 flood.
As air gets warmer, it holds more water vapor, said David Watkins, a Tech civil and environmental engineering professor. At the same time, accelerated warming in the Arctic has shifted the jet stream that circulates air globally, turning it from a direct path to a “lazy river,” Watkins said.
By 2030, extreme weather events will be more likely, and urbanization will have accelerated, said Alex Mayer, professor of geological and mining engineering sciences and civil and environmental engineering at Tech. In 2030, a projected 60 percent of all urban areas will have been built in the past 30 years.
The talk is the first in a series of Father’s Day Flood presentations held by the Keweenaw Land Trust and Carnegie Museum.