Climate change, El Niño topics of South Tahoe weather conference |

Climate change, El Niño topics of South Tahoe weather conference

Sebastian Foltz

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — The national weather spotlight will be on Lake Tahoe and Heavenly Mountain Resort this week with the return of the annual Operation Sierra Storm Meteorologist Conference.

The event, in its 19th year, attracts TV weather forecasters from across the country for a three-day conference, which includes two presentations open to the public.

“These are the best of the best,” Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority spokeswoman Jenn Boyd said, calling the event an opportunity to showcase winter at Lake Tahoe.

“It really helps set the tone for our winter ski visits,” she said of heading into peak season. “This is huge exposure in our national markets.”

With storms this week and a strong start to winter, she added, “The timing couldn’t be more perfect with snow coming down now.”

During the conference, network forecasters from major markets like Los Angeles and Chicago will be broadcasting live feeds from Heavenly Mountain Resort.

Boyd said that The Weather Channel and Fox News’s Fox and Friends will also be doing segments on Saturday, Jan. 9.

The National Weather Service-endorsed conference provides both networking and ongoing education opportunities for forecasters through a series of presentations.


Two talks will be open and free to the public Friday, Jan. 8, at Harveys Lake Tahoe Cabaret Theater.

Scripps Institute of Oceanography climate research meteorologist Alexander (Sasha) Gershunov will discuss this year’s El Niño impact. Ken Caldeira, an acclaimed climatologist form the Carnegie Institution for Science at Stanford University, will also present on climate change.

Caldeira was a lead author on the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change AR5 report and recently attended the Paris Climate Conference. He will discuss the expected environmental, economic and cultural impacts of the conference.

Both Gershunov and Caldeira’s presentations will include question-and-answer sessions following their talks. Gershunov will open the session at 8 a.m. followed by Caldiera at 10 a.m.

While not required, organizers are encouraging those interested in attending to RSVP through the event website at Additional information on the conference and other events are also available on the website.

The event is sponsored by the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority and Heavenly Mountain Resort.

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