National weather conference at Stateline |

National weather conference at Stateline

by Griffin Rogers

A national weather conference starts today in Stateline, giving the public a chance to learn more about climate change and the creation of more efficient transportation.

Operation Sierra Storm, sponsored by Tahoe South, runs through Friday will feature presentations about climate change and the environment from scientists and experts, according to a press release.

“OSS was revitalized last year to engage the meteorologist media segment, which has significant influence without potential visitors,” Carol Chaplin, executive director of the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority, said in an email.

Like in previous years, the conference will be geared toward educating television meteorologists and providing them with source material for broadcasts.

“This is an opportunity for us to build relationships with them through educational opportunities relevant to both their profession and our destination,” Chaplin said.

Two free presentations will be available on Friday.

Virgil Welch, special counsel for the California Air Resources Board, will provide the first free presentation, which will discuss a national study on creating more low-carbon and environmentally beneficial transportation systems.

Welch will speak 7:45-8:45 a.m. at Harveys.

William Collins, a senior scientist at UC Berkeley and 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner, will then lead the second free presentation and speak about climate change at 9 a.m. Collins is also the keynote speaker of this year’s entire OSS conference.

Other speakers during the conference — whose presentations will not be open to the public — include Duane Waliser of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Julie Regan of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and Jeff Piotrowsk, an Emmy Award winning storm chaser.

How Lake Tahoe communities adapt to climate change is an important topic that has garnered national interest, said TRPA spokesman Jeff Cowen.

“Lake Tahoe has been at the leading edge of environmental sciences for many years,” he said in an email, “and we recognize that we are on a world stage when it comes to the effects of climate change.”