'Climate change is real' | Texas State Climatologist shares findings from updated climate report – KVUE.com

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AUSTIN, Texas — The state climatologist says Texans should brace for more triple-digit days, as well as higher chances for drought, wildfire, and flooding, over the next decade.
Those are some of the findings in a recently released report predicting climate trends through 2036, the state’s bicentennial.
“The things we know, we can plan for,” said Dr. John Neilsen-Gammon, Texas State Climatologist, during an interview Wednesday from his office at Texas A&M University in College Station. “Things we don’t know, we can allow for different possibilities.”
Dr. Nielsen-Gammon was appointed Texas State Climatologist in 2000 by then-Gov. George W. Bush.
Recently, the Texas A&M atmospheric science professor authored an updated report predicting climate trends through 2036, the state’s bicentennial.
Nielsen-Gammon’s team analyzed data from 1900 through 2023.
RELATED: Texas is going to keep getting hotter, new climatology report shows
“‘Climate change is real’ is an obvious takeaway,” said Dr. Nielsen-Gammon.
Nielsen-Gammon says the rising temperatures are driven by increases in greenhouse gas emissions, and the pace aligns with climate model projections.
“That obviously gives us confidence that the changes we’ve seen are actually part of a long-term trend, rather than just natural variability,” said Dr. Nielsen-Gammon.
Nielsen-Gammon said the number of 100-degree days in his findings is what surprised him most.
“(It) more than doubled since the 1970s and is still increasing,” Nielsen-Gammon said. “So, that the total change is probably gonna be quadrupling by the year 2036.”
RELATED: Human-induced climate change affecting weather in Central Texas and nationally
The report also predicts more intense rainfall and more flooding in cities.
“Take any flood that you had historically and add 25% more water to it,” said Dr. Nielsen-Gammon.
The professor also predicts more evaporation, which would lead to drier vegetation that could become fuel for wildfires.
“Reducing climate change is a global problem, but dealing with climate change is a local problem,” Nielsen-Gammon said.
It’s a problem Austin’s mayor acknowledged during a Tuesday news conference on heat safety.
“Yes, Texas has always been hot, but climate change is causing more extreme heat,” Austin Mayor Kirk Watson said.
Dr. Nielsen-Gammon’s team plans to speak to state lawmakers about likely impacts the climate trends will have on the state’s power grid over the next several months.
That hearing before the Texas House State Affairs Committee starts at 9 a.m. at the Texas Capitol on June 10.
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