State Climatologist on Salmon and Climate Change

By Sara Thompson, KP News

Washington State Climatologist Nick Bond was on the Key Peninsula in September to do one of the things he loves — talk to people about how climate impacts us all. The Longbranch Improvement Club invited him through a program sponsored by Humanities Washington.

Bond moved to Seattle in 1980 to get his Ph.D. in atmospheric science. His research focuses on how climate change impacts marine ecosystems, and he has taught a course on weather analysis at the University of Washington. Describing himself as a “weather geek and generalist,” he jumped at the chance to become the Washington State Climatologist about 10 years ago when the position opened. He said that it gives him the opportunity to learn about the impact of climate over a wide spectrum of issues. Outreach is a big part of his job, including speaking to the public and being a resource for state and local agencies.

Bond chose salmon as his segue into the topic of climate change because “we feel an emotional connection to them. It’s a way to engage folks — what we have already seen and what may be coming.” The title of his talk, “Are Salmon Doomed? Hatching a Plan to Save a Northwest Icon,” reveals his optimism.

“I can give a piece of good news along with the realization that the climate is changing, and we ignore it at our peril,” he said.

Bond said that there is growing recognition that a healthy environment and human health go hand in hand. For instance, improving parks in inner cities improves the health of city children. “We are not just talking about the health of salmon — we are talking about the health of people as well.”

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