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Colorado: Weather and climate summit returns to Breckenridge

Hurricane Isaac satellite image

Hurricane Isaac moving into the Gulf of Mexico in August, 2012. Satellite image courtesy NOAA.

Extreme weather communications, sea level rise and Arctic meltdown on the agenda

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — Following a year that ended up being the warmest on record for the contiguous 48 states, and that included a monster drought and superstorm Sandy, weather experts have a lot to talk about.

This week, broadcast meteorologists will have a chance to meet face to face with climate researchers and other experts during the annual Glenn Gerberg Weather and Climate Summit in Breckenridge, Colorado (Jan. 14-18).

This is the second year the summit is being held in Breckenridge, but the main purpose is stil the same — building relationships between broadcast meteorologists and scientists who are doing groundbreaking research, said conference organizer Dave Jones, president and CEO of StormCenter Communications, Inc.

Along with a series of presentations and panel discussions, the event is aimed at breaking the ice between the broadcast and the research world, making it easier for a broadcast meteorologist to call someone if they’re trying to explain a complex weather story.

“It helps take away that apprehensiveness,” Jones said.

The impacts of Hurricane Isaac and superstorm Sandy really led to the opening panel discussion with Dr. Rick Knabb, director of the National Hurricane Center,” Jones said. “He’s a very smart guy, who is developing a long-term, impactful vision … He’ll be talking about how those events affected his views,” Jones added.

That first panel will focus a lot on emergency weather communication, as well as awareness, preparation and delivering the right message. Sandy, in particular, presented a challenge, as it morphed from a tropical system into something else just hours before making landfall.

Other sessions will cover space weather, forecasting extreme precipitation events (expected to increase as global temperatures rise), sea level rise, drought and the connection between Arctic ice melt and mid-latitude weather patterns. See the full agenda here.

Just like last year, all the sessions will stream live online, and there will be a live-streamed question and answer session with the panelists after each day’s sessions end. Videos of the panels will be posted online shortly after they end. Visit the conference agenda page to find links to the live streams, as well as the material presented during the panels.

The panels are only open to conference attendees, but the summit also features a town hall-style meeting with Jim Cantore, of The Weather Channel, who will share some of his stories about reporting extreme weather events from the field. The town hall session is Jan. 16, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Double Tree by Hilton hotel in Breckenridge.

Follow the conference @wxcsummit on Twitter; conference attendees are tweeting about the summit under the#wxcs2013 hashtag.

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