This spring and summer, most of the U.S. experienced extreme weather: torrential rain and flooding on most of the East Coast, persistent drought in the middle states, and both extremes in the Pacific Ocean states.

To this point, our paradise in central Maine has had a relatively nice summer: a good amount of rain early, followed by a bit of drought, and pleasantly (unusually) warm days.

It may literally be too good to be true; we are not immune to the extreme weather experienced elsewhere, as evidenced by the intense rain and flood last October.

The surface waters in the Gulf of Maine have continued to warm rapidly. On a late June cruise in the eastern Gulf, I observed nothing below 67 degrees F, a big departure from the past. The consequent amplification of the “water cycle” — evaporation from surface waters followed by condensation and rainfall — pumps a big increase in energy up into our local atmosphere, increasing the probability of torrential rain, and even cyclonic storms.

It is more than time to begin preparing for this new future, and creating resilient communities all over Maine.

Here in Belfast, on June 14, a public meeting was held to present the outline of a Climate Action Plan for Belfast, and seek public input and discussion. We heard some great suggestions and even better questions and are eager to continue engaging residents’ insights as our work on the plan continues.

When completed, the CAP will be brought before the City Council for adoption. It will feature clear, measurable actions with timelines to help Belfast adapt and become more resilient as climate change progresses.

To continue facilitating the CAP discussion begun in June, our Climate Crisis Committee (an adviser to Belfast City Council) is collaborating with the Belfast Free Library’s program, “All of Belfast Climate Dialogues,” to present public programs addressing each of the most significant areas of our plan. These programs will include brief background information and extended discussion with you, our fellow residents. The co-hosted meetings will deal with a few of those topics that are the most immediately significant.

The first meeting will be about flooding and drought. The team will explore where our current infrastructure for stormwater management needs to improve, and what we, as citizens and property owners in Belfast, can do to help ourselves. We invite all to attend who have an interest in creating a more resilient Belfast for ourselves and future generations.

The meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 11, 6 to 8 p.m., in the Belfast Free Library Abbott Room. For more information, visit belfastlibrary.org/abcd-events.

Jerry Brand

Belfast Climate Crisis Committee