Articles on our Climate and Environment



REPORT: CLIMATE CHANGE ALREADY AFFECTING U.S.

Man-made climate change is already lifting temperatures, increasing rainfall, and raising sea levels around the United States --and its effects are on track to get much worse in the coming century, according a report, "Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States", released by federal scientists on June 16th. The report was unveiled at a news conference including John Holden, President Obama's chief science adviser, and Jane Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Among its findings:

--The average U.S. temperature has risen 2 degrees over  the past 50 years and might rise more rapidly, between 4 and 11 degrees, before 2100.  Temperatures will be nearer the upper end of this range if global emissions are not cut.

--Precipitation in the U.S. has increased an average of about 5 percent over the past 50 years. In the future, computer models show that northern areas will become wetter, and southern areas will become drier, especially in the West.

--The heaviest rainfalls ware even heavier now, with the amount of rainfall in major storms having increased 20 percent nationwide over the past century. The hardest-hit areas have been the Northeast--where heavy storms are now 67 percent heavier --and the Midwest, with a 31 percent increase. In this definition, the "Northeast" includes the District and Maryland, but not Virginia.

--Extreme heat waves will also become more common.  A temperature reached only once in 20 years until now might be reached every other year of so by the end of the century.

--Sea levels have been rising along most of the U.S. coast over the past 50 years, increasing up to eight inches in some places. The trend is expected to continue as warmer temperatures melt glaciers and cause the ocean to expand like a wooden door on a hot day.  Some of the worst-hit areas are expected to be along the East Coast, owing to a confluence of rising and subsiding land.  Seas might rise 2.3 feet near New York City.

The report can be found online at www.globalchange.gov






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August 2013 Newsletter

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