Kennebec Journal speaks with Birkel about climate changes across Maine, severe weather

Sean Birkel, Maine’s state climatologist and a research assistant professor at the University of Maine’s Climate Change Institute, was quoted in the Kennebec Journal article, “Climate changes across Maine likely to bring more severe weather.” At a broad level, Birkel studies what has been happening in Maine over time, according to the article. “The historical record shows that in the past century, the total amount of precipitation that falls on an annual basis has increased, and more so in the last 15 years,” he said. “And the mode of delivery has changed — we’ve had more extreme rainfall events.” Birkel is one of the authors of the CCI’s Maine’s Climate Future: 2015 Update. “The climate is in disequilibrium,” he said, and it’s trying to find its balance. Changes in weather patterns have been observed over the last 100 years. Because the observation of the last couple of decades is so different from those that came before, Birkel said that’s where his focus is. “Probably, it’s the new normal,” he said. “We’re grappling with uncertainty, and it’s not easy.” Projections of future climate conditions show that Maine will probably be wetter in coming decades and possibly be subject to more intense storms, the article states.