A new report on climate change details how awful global warming will be.
The United States Global Change Research Program, a joint scientific venture of 13 federal agencies and the White House conducted the report, which will be released this afternoon at 1:30 pm. The New York Times was given an advanced look:
Here’s what we have to look forward to:
- powerful tropical storms
- erosion of ocean coastlines caused by melting Arctic ice,
- increase in drought in the Southwest,
- more intense heat waves in the Northeast
- Reduced mountain snowpack
- Earlier melt-offs and reduced stream volumes across the West and Northwest, affecting residential and agricultural water supplies, habitats for spawning fish and reduced hydroelectric power generation.
The lead author of the report says “What we would want to have people take away is that climate change is happening now, and it’s actually beginning to affect our lives.”
Joe Romm at Climate Progress has been looking over the draft versions of the report, which have been online, and posted the graphic on the right:
Cimate Progress: Look at Kansas. By 2090, it’ll be above 90°F some 120 days a year — more than the entire summer. Much of Florida and Texas will be above 90°F for half the year. These won’t be called heat waves anymore. It’ll just be the “normal” climate.
While the change is striking, it’s up for debate how damaging all this will be to human lives.
Dr. Karl said the section of the 188-page report dealing with human-health effects generated the most discussion and uncertainty among the agencies. The study said rising average temperatures would cause more heat-related illnesses and deaths, along with some reduction in deaths from extreme cold.
The study also showed that higher temperatures combined with air pollution would cause a higher incidence of asthma and other respiratory ailments.
The good news here, is that Karl says our destiny is in our hands. If only we cut back on emissions, he says, we won’t be so hosed.
If only that were as easy to do as it is to say.
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