While most Americans understand that climate change is a real threat, they often see it as a problem to be dealt with in the distant future. However, a growing body of data is demonstrating that climate change is already impacting our lives.
Coming on the heels of increasingly alarming UN Climate Assessment Reports, the new National Climate Assessment, released on Tuesday May 6, 2014, quantifies the effects of a changing global climate on the United States. The report is comprehensive, covering all available climate data since the end of the 19th century for the US, as well as future projections obtained by climate models. The report explores the implications of a changing climate across 14 sectors in 8 distinct regions of the country. Given the fact that since the mid-1970s the US has observed between a 1.3oF and a 1.9oF increase in average temperatures, the NCA goes much deeper than making a case for the existence of climate change. Rather than stating that changes are happening, the report describes at great length what is actually changing.
For Americans, this report strikes a much more resonant chord than the ambiguously-worded reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Click on the links above to find out what is going on in your native region, or a relevant sector, and see in real time how climate change is affecting your life. President Obama spent the day of the release in interviews with local weather reporters in an effort to connect the complex global issue of climate change to an average person’s life. On the “Today Show,” the President explained to Al Roker, “Whether it means increased flooding, greater vulnerability to drought, more severe wildfires — all these things are having an impact on Americans as we speak.”
The report is a sobering view into the study of climate science, and a call to action. The effects of climate change are at the forefront of the report, trumping the traditional “range of scenarios” format of previous publications on the subject. The NCA is accompanied by a beautifully – crafted website. Instead of attempting to explain the findings of more than 300 scientists’ work compiled by a federal advisory board of more than 60 members from both the private and public sector, I encourage you to click around and find out how climate change is affecting your own region and way of life.
The report’s findings are summarized in the following aspects of global climate change:
Summaries for different regions across the nation are discussed in the second half of the report: