Placeholder ImageSoCo Climate 2050 debut at the Sebastopol Grange
photo credit: KRCB

When it comes to reversing climate change, one group in Sebastopol is looking into Sonoma County’s future as a place to start.

A buzzy crowd around 60 strong, many friends, neighbors, or at the very least acquainted, gathered recently at the Sebastopol Grange for a first look at “Sonoma County Climate 2050.”

Grange President Lawrence Jaffe commissioned the video piece as part of his efforts to prepare the community for a changing climate.

"In 2050, will there be fires?" Jaffe asked" "Will there be fog? How much heat will there be? How much water will there be and what will we be growing? The video shows a lot of changes, but there's also a lot of hope here."

"We can be ready and we can start preparing now," Jaffe said.

Climate scientist Emily Schoerning from the climate education nonprofit American Resiliency researched and produced the half-hour long video.

"The resources you'll see in this climate forecast are from organizations like the USDA and the US Forest Service, and scientific reports like the Fourth National Climate Assessment to help give these tools context," Schoerning said. "These are all high consensus resources, which means that lots of scientists overwhelmingly agree the evidence supports these climate models."

Schoerning laid out how Sonoma County’s climate is likely to look in 2050 - with changes in precipitation patterns an important factor.

"Expect a dramatically hotter summer, but less dramatic changes in precipitation than many parts of California," Schoerning said. "However you are likely to get closer to and maybe dip below 30 inches of precipitation a year. That 30 inch mark is the point where we start to move out of a climate that supports temperate forests and move towards a grasslands type ecosystem."

On Jaffe’s question around fog - Schoerning said expect change.

"One big likely change as we move towards 2050 is a loss of inland fog, but right on the coast, we do see some potential for cool summer stability and for fog stability," Schoerning said. "Outside though of that very narrow cool band, you should anticipate that you will experience substantially decreased fog and that the summers especially will feel very different as that cooling blanket retreats."

Schoerning said with preparation and protection of strong ecosystems now, there is still plenty to be hopeful about in Sonoma County’s climate future.

"You need to prepare for what's coming," Schoerning said. "A hotter, drier future. You're going to need AC. You're going to need distributed power systems, including both solar and storage elements, as well as distributed water systems. Your county is ahead of the game on that one. Keep your water and your power as local as you can, because the statewide systems...they're very stressed, [and] frankly, fragile."


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