The Craftsbury Energy Committee will host Michael Billingsley with a talk on Climate Degradation and Local Preparedness at the Craftsbury Library on Wed. Feb. 21 at 7 PM.

Rapidly-warming Arctic oceans, melting Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, and other big effects such as the warming of Russian and Alaskan permafrost tundra, are shifting ocean currents, affecting our health and changing our weather. These somewhat unpredictable changes have never occurred before in known human history. As it occurs, such degradation is going to challenge local patterns of weather, wildlife and insects, and may include more extreme rainfall, infestations of forests and problems we have never encountered before. Getting together and thinking ahead can solve and prepare for weather-caused local hazards and regional emergencies.

Michael Billingsley is a former psychologist and college teacher who for the past 20 years has been studying ancient climate and geologic events around the North Atlantic as part of his research into the development of Bronze Age Irish culture. He is now Emergency Management Director for the town of Plainfield VT and helps lead that town's Hazard Mitigation Committee. He is a member of the International Permafrost Association, American Geophysical Union, Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Permafrost Young Researchers Network (UNESCO) and American Seismological Association and frequently posted about space weather events on NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory webpage. He was a volunteer team member helping with disaster response for Hurricane Katrina and Haiti's Port au Prince earthquake, and worked on the volcano monitoring team of Iceland's Eyjafjallajkull volcano in 2010 (and developed the prediction model with French mathematician Michel Socuel - which allowed them to accurately predict and warn the final eruptive phase).

For the past several years he has been studying rapidly warming conditions in the Arctic polar region and monitoring the effect upon North American, European and Russian weather. He works informally with (and has presented for) Vermont Emergency Management and FEMA about flooding risks and community response.

For more information call Craftsbury Energy Committee Chair, Amelia Fritz, at 586-2887.

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