Weather and climate summit blows into Breckenridge |

Weather and climate summit blows into Breckenridge

Talking about the weather isn’t always just idle chitchat. Some people take it very seriously – and, as it so happens, they are descending on Summit County this week.

Leading scientists and meteorologist will converge in Breckenridge on Monday for the 24th annual Glen Gerberg Weather and Climate Summit, which lasts through Jan. 18.

Television meteorologist from local networks to CNN to The Weather Channel will join climate scientists from NOAA and various universities to discuss the changing state of our weather.

StormCenter Communications, Inc. is co-organizing the multi-day event, which will take place at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel. The summit’s objective is “to increase understanding and awareness of extreme weather and climate events and to foster critical relationships between the media and scientists,” according to a news release.

Monday’s events will begin at 8 a.m. with an introduction from Dale Eck, the Global Forecast Center director for The Weather Channel and the summit organizer who will kick off every day of the summit with a weather briefing. A panel discussion on weather preparedness will follow. After a break, Bob Rutledge, the lead forecaster at NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center, will discuss how space weather impacts the infrastructure outside our planet’s atmosphere.

On Tuesday, Greg Carbin, a warning coordination meteorologist with NOAA and the National Weather Service, will talk on the latest technology for predicting high-impact weather events.

At 10:15 a.m. on Wednesday, Jennifer Francis, a scientist at Rutgers University, will deliver a lecture titled, “Wacky Weather and the Disappearing Arctic Sea Ice: Are They Connected?”

“Unprecedented snowfall in Alaska, the worst drought in two generations, the warmest March on record, ‘Frankenstorm’ … have the weather gods gone mad? It’s not your imagination. Extreme weather events are increasing in frequency and intensity all around the Northern Hemisphere,” Francis writes in the summary of her talk.

Also on Wednesday, celebrity meteorologist Jim Cantore will speak at a town hall-style event from 6-7 p.m. Free parking will be available at the Beaver Run parking lot.

“Last year was the first year we held the Weather Summit in Breckenridge,” stated summit organizer Eck in a news release. “We were so impressed with the community, the ski area and the level of interest locals have in the weather, that we decided it would be fun to include a public event in this year’s program.”

Cantore attended last year’s event and agreed to come back this year and present.

“He is the perfect ambassador from our conference to discuss weather events and his experience in the field with the local community,” Eck said.

Cantore has also reported from events such as the Winter X Games, PGA tournaments, NFL games and more. After NBC Universal’s acquisition of The Weather Channel in 2008, Cantore has occasionally filled in for Al Roker on “Today.” He also hosted weather segments for NBC during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, according to a news release.

At 8:30 a.m. on Thursday, Margaret Davidson, the acting director of the NOAA Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management, will deliver a talk entitled, “Sea Level Rose, Coastal Vulnerability and Extreme Events – How Big Should My Water Wings Be?”

At 10:15 a.m., Jeff Lukas with the University of Colorado will talk about what trees can tell us about extreme droughts.

Each day of the summit will end with a question and answer session with the speakers.

The Glen Gerberg Weather and Climate Summit, established in 1985 to bring together television weathercasters and meteorologist with leading scientists and researchers, allows for an exchange of ideas to foster improved communication and collaboration between the media and the science community. The ultimate outcome of this summit is the establishment of improved media-scientist relationships that fosters continued dialogue for improved scientific communication to the public, according to a news release.

The summit is sponsored by Breckenridge Ski Resort,Vail Resorts, Breckenridge Resort Chamber, Double Tree by Hilton Breckenridge and Image Audiovisual.

“Weather extremes and adaptation to the changes that are occurring are becoming increasingly part of our daily lives,” event organizers said in a news release. “The impacts can be felt from our local regions to our wallets. These extremes are affecting business, politics, transportation, agriculture and infrastructure. The impacts of Superstorm Sandy will be far-reaching with costs over the next few years exceeding $50 to $100 billion.”

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