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Climate change workshop brings hundreds to UC Merced

The issue of climate change was brought to a personal level in Merced.

Whether it’s mirrored in water from the faucet, forests toured in Yosemite or even a Metallica song — the issue was no longer a distant abstract concept Thursday — it hit home.

Hundreds of campuses from around the county took part in Focus the Nation, discussions and presentations from all levels about climate change. While this was a national event, UC Merced’s participation localized it in more ways than one.

It took place on campus with a day of talks by UC Merced scientists and professors, and Yosemite representatives. Local students and community members alike drifted in and out of the room as topics flowed from modern glacier retreat to music and environmental activism.

But most of the concerns dripped down to the same resource — water, water, water. This was made evident in multiple Merced researchers’ presentations, but particularly from engineering professor Roger Bales, who is studying the climate’s affect on snow melt.

The water Merced County depends on originates from the snow up high in the Sierra Nevada mountains. “If you want the short answer for water resources — there is going to be less snow,” Bales said, adding that it only takes a small increase in temperature to turn a snow storm into a rain storm.

Read the full story in Saturday's Merced Sun-Star.