Talking climate at Marion Institute speaker series

Jul 19, 2023

MARION — Residents of Marion and the South Coast may have to contend with more than just rising sea levels due to the effects of climate change, said climate scientist Jennifer Francis at a talk hosted by the Marion Institute on Tuesday, July 18. 

According to Francis, while sea level rise can affect the South Coast, “here in Marion, our biggest concern is the next big hurricane.”

“We’ve got to prepare for the next big hurricane … a lot of people have forgotten how bad they can be,” she said.

Many extreme weather events, she said, are due to changes in the Jet Stream, a current of air in Earth’s atmosphere that separates cold air to the north from warm air to the south. 

“The Jet Stream controls our weather,” said Francis. “It makes our weather, it steers our weather.”

According to Francis, as the Jet Stream makes its way across the continental United States it can have massive effects on the weather including droughts on the West Coast, freezing weather in the American South and the humid conditions that have affected the South Coast in recent weeks. 

Francis added that rising ocean temperatures off the coast of New England can affect fisheries. 

“There are hardly any lobsters out here anymore,” she said, pointing to the effects of rising ocean temperatures. “Thank goodness there's still some in Maine so we're not going without our lobster rolls this summer. But it's having a big impact on the fisheries all along the eastern seaboard.”

Francis’s talk was a part of the Marion Institute’s “Connector Series.”

The next speaker in the series will be Dave Wiley, a marine ecologist with the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary who will give a talk on “climate change and our oceans.”

It will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 15 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Marion Music Hall. To register, visit