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Climate Connections: Visiting Students In North Carolina

7 minutes

(Describer) Titles: Start with Science.

(Describer) USGS – Science for a changing world.

(Describer) USGS Climate Connections. Outside a building…

Hi, I'm Jessica Robertson, and this is USGS Climate Connections, where your climate change questions are answered by USGS scientists.

(Describer) Titles: From locations all across America. Your climate questions matter. Climate Connections. Has answers.

(Describer) Robertson walks down a hall in Mount Airy, North Carolina.

In this episode, we talk to students from Mt. Airy, North Carolina. We were beyond impressed by how many questions they had and how advanced and challenging the questions were. Let's meet the students and see some of the questions they had for our scientists.

(Describer) Title: Question One.

I'm Elizabeth Dinkins. I'm at Mount Airy High School. Do all scientists agree that climate change is actually occurring?

(Describer) In an office by two computer screens…

I'm Bob Hirsch of the U.S. Geological Survey. Let me try to answer your question. There is a strong scientific consensus that there is global warming occurring and that human activities are at least a part of the causes for that. We know some things particularly well. There is more warming occurring near the poles than there is in the mid-latitudes. One of the difficult parts of climate change research is trying to untangle the part which is natural variability from the part that is driven by human activities. The scientific consensus is quite strong that humans are contributing to that warming.

(Describer) Title: Question Two.

My name is Hassan Moore. I'm a sixth-grader at Mount Airy Middle School. I like to fish. Will climate change affect the water levels and populations of fish?

(Describer) Standing by a microphone…

Hi, Hassan. I'm Elda Varela from the USGS. I am the Climate Change and Fish Habitat Project Coordinator. To address your question, we do expect to see certain changes with climate change. Warm-water fish, such as smallmouth bass, are expected to expand their range. They might be found further north, and you can catch them in more areas. However, other fish species that are cold-water species, such as lake trout, will probably see their habitat area decline. They'll be found in less areas. The season in which you fish may be affected by climate change. For example, for people that ice fish, they'll probably find that the earlier ice melt in the spring will probably decrease their ice fishing season. In summary, the type of fish and when and where you fish, may be affected by climate change. That was a great question. I hope I answered it today.

(Describer) Title: Question Three.

I'm Hayden Culler. I'm in eighth grade. Could the climate dramatically or abruptly change or will it happen slowly over time?

(Describer) Joan Fitzpatrick:

Hayden, the answer is yes in both instances. The climate of the earth has been shown to change both rapidly and slowly. Those slow changes can take as long as millions of years to hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands of years. Abrupt changes can take place in one to two years in certain locations.

(Jessica) Thank-you Joan.

(Describer) Robertson:

Hayden, as an example, research has shown there may be an abrupt period of increased drought in the Southwest during the 21st century. Also, sea level may rise slowly or rapidly, depending on how much and how fast the ice sheets and glaciers around the world melt. Abrupt changes in climate, should they occur, will cause substantial disruptions to society and natural systems with little time to prepare.

(Describer) Dry cracked ground is shown. Title: Question Four.

My name is Joao Bellon. I go to Mount Airy High School. The floor that we're in is heated by geothermal energy. My question was, what are the advantages and disadvantages of geothermal energy and the climate affects that it has?

(Describer) Sitting by a phone in an office…

Hi, I'm Brenda Pierce. I manage the energy resources program at the USGS. You've asked a very advanced question. Let's separate the answer into several parts. Let's define a couple terms. Geothermal energy is energy harnessed from the internal heat of the earth and then used to produce energy sources or electricity. Geothermal is a form of renewable energy. Renewable energy is that type of energy that is constant or replenishable, like wind, solar, and geothermal. Second, your question about its relationship to climate change. Geothermal energy emits very little CO2, which is a greenhouse gas linked to global warming. That means geothermal energy may have the potential to offset higher CO2-emitting energy sources in the future.

(Describer) Outside, Robertson:

That's it for this episode. Join us again for USGS Climate Connections. I'm Jessica Robertson.

(Describer) Title: USGS Climate Connections. A car goes down a street, and a young man rides a bicycle on a sidewalk. A woman speaks to Robertson.

(Describer) In the school…

(Describer) Titles: Climate Connections has answers.

(Describer) Robertson listens to various people in a park, and speaks with them.

(Describer) Different people look into the camera.

Will climate change... Will climate change... Will climate change...

(Describer) Funding to purchase and make this educational program accessible was provided by the U.S. Department of Education. Contact the Department of Education by telephone at 1-800-USA-LEARN, or online at

Funding to purchase and make this educational production accessible was provided by the U.S. Department of Education:

PH: 1-800-USA-LEARN (V) or WEB:

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Host Jessica Robertson visits middle and high school students in Mt. Airy, NC. They want to know if all scientists agree that climate change is occurring. Scientists from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) provide the answers and information on how to learn more about climate change.

Media Details

Runtime: 7 minutes

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