Birkel, Handley speak to BDN about volcanic eruptions

The Bangor Daily News spoke to Sean Birkel, Maine state climatologist and assistant professor with a joint appointment in University of Maine Cooperative Extension and the UMaine Climate Change Institute, and David Handley, vegetable and small fruit specialist at Extension, about how a volcanic eruption in Tonga 18 months ago is impacting Maine growing seasons. “That single [Tonga volcano] eruption added another 10 percent of moisture to the atmosphere. That is one possible part of warming that we are seeing this summer. … The extremes we see here are connected to extremes elsewhere on the planet. Natural systems respond to those changes — like lakes [in Maine] freezing later and ice-outs coming sooner,” Birkel said. “The last three years have been years of extreme droughts in Maine. It’s made more sense to only plant what you have the ability to water, and now this year it’s been quite the opposite,” Handley said.