New U.S. National Climate Assessment Released

Observed Precipitation Changes in the US. The colors on the map show annual total precipitation changes for 1991-2012 compared to the 1901-1960 average, and show wetter conditions in most areas. The bars on the graphs show average precipitation differences by decade for 1901-2012 (relative to the 1901-1960 average) for each region. The far right bar in each graph is for 2001-2012. (Figure source: adapted from Peterson et al. 20131). Click to enlarge.

The third U.S. National Climate Assessment was released today, including state-specific fact sheets like this one for Illinois.  I’ll post some Illinois specific comments in the near future.

The assessments are mandated by law with the intent of providing the latest report of climate change and it’s impacts on the United States.

Here are the key findings for the Midwest (the Midwest report is located here):

  • In the next few decades, longer growing seasons and rising carbon dioxide levels will increase yields of some crops, though those benefits will be progressively offset by extreme weather events. Though adaptation options can reduce some of the detrimental effects, in the long term, the combined stresses associated with climate change are expected to decrease agricultural productivity.
  • The composition of the region’s forests is expected to change as rising temperatures drive habitats for many tree species northward. The role of the region’s forests as a net absorber of carbon is at risk from disruptions to forest ecosystems, in part due to climate change.
  • Increased heat wave intensity and frequency, increased humidity, degraded air quality, and reduced water quality will increase public health risks.
  • The Midwest has a highly energy-intensive economy with per capita emissions of greenhouse gases more than 20% higher than the national average. The region also has a large and increasingly utilized potential to reduce emissions that cause climate change.
  • Extreme rainfall events and flooding have increased during the last century, and these trends are expected to continue, causing erosion, declining water quality, and negative impacts on transportation, agriculture, human health, and infrastructure.
  • Climate change will exacerbate a range of risks to the Great Lakes, including changes in the range and distribution of certain fish species, increased invasive species and harmful blooms of algae, and declining beach health. Ice cover declines will lengthen the commercial navigation season [this winter was the exception to the rule – Jim].

0 Replies to “New U.S. National Climate Assessment Released”

  1. Jim, do you plan to highlight scientific discrepancies between IPCC findings and NCA findings on drought, storms, floods, etc? TIA.

  2. That would mean I would have to read both reports, front to back. Maybe it’s just me but the IPCC report is really tough to read.

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