Fed report: Warming disrupting Americans’ lives

May 10th, 2014 | By | Category: Climate Change

UPDATE:

Climate change is linked to more floods, hotter and drier weather, and melting sea ice, but it could also affect infectious diseases like Lyme disease and West Nile Virus. The problem is we don’t know how.

For more on this story, visit: Could Climate Change Spread Ticks and Mosquitoes In Connecticut? | WNPR News.

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In response to the Obama Administration putting out a report Tuesday saying climate change is impacting people across the country, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy called for action to limit carbon emissions and ensure climate change is limited throughout the state and the globe.

“It’s clear from the National Climate Assessment that we must strengthen our efforts to reduce the volume of harmful carbon emissions into the atmosphere while putting strategies in place to adapt to changes we are going to see as a result of existing levels,” Malloy said in a press release.

For more on this story, visit: Malloy: Strengthen climate change efforts | HartfordBusiness.com.

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“Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” the report says. “Corn producers in Iowa, oyster growers in Washington state and maple syrup producers in Vermont are all observing climate-related changes that are outside of recent experience.”

global-warming-climate-change-flooding-bluffThe report looks at regional and state-level effects of global warming, compared with recent reports from the United Nations that lumped all of North America together. A draft of the report was released in January 2013, but this version has been reviewed by more scientists, the National Academy of Science and 13 government agencies and had public comment. It is written in a bit more simple language so people could realize “that there’s a new source of risk in their lives,” said study lead author Gary Yohe of Wesleyan University in Connecticut.

For more on this story, visit: Fed report: Warming disrupting Americans’ lives – WFSB 3 Connecticut.

ALSO:

New US Government Report Finds Climate Change Already Impacting Connecticut, Northeast

National Climate Assessment finds more extreme weather expected

Washington, DC May 6, 2014 Connecticut is already feeling the effects of climate change, according to the National Climate Assessment (NCA), the most comprehensive analysis to date of the impacts of climate change on the United States. The NCA, released at a White House event, was written by 300 scientists and other experts in a process managed by the U.S. Global Change Research Program, a collaboration of 13 federal departments and agencies. This assessment is the first comprehensive assessment in several years, a requirement of the Global Change Research Act passed during the George H.W. Bush administration.

The NCA breaks down the effects by region. In the Northeast, the report warns that heat waves, coastal flooding due to sea level rise and storm surges, and river flooding due to more extreme precipitation events are affecting communities in the region.

“The frequency, intensity, and duration of heat waves is expected to increase in the Northeast,” said Dr. Radley Horton, research scientist at Columbia University and the convening lead author of the Northeast region chapter. “The NCA also clearly demonstrates that coastal flooding due to sea level rise, and river flooding due to more extreme precipitation events will pose a growing challenge to the region’s environmental, social, and economic systems.”

The NCA also highlights how climate change will exacerbate a range of risks to the Northeast region. It shows that infrastructure will be increasingly compromised by climate-related hazards including sea level rise, coastal flooding, and intense precipitation events.

“Extreme weather events and water shortages are already interrupting energy supply, and impacts are expected to increase in the future,” said Dr. Thomas Wilbanks, research fellow at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and one of the lead authors of the Energy Supply and Use, and the Urban Systems, Infrastructure, and Vulnerability chapters. “The outages resulting from recent storms such as Hurricanes Sandy and Irene are good examples of the vulnerabilities that exist in the region’s infrastructure.”

The NCA and underlying technical reports also detail climate change impacts that affect the state of Connecticut, including:

FLOOD RISK & SEA LEVEL RISE- Hurricane Sandy was responsible for about 150 deaths, approximately half of which occurred in the Northeast, and monetary impacts on coastal areas, especially in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island were estimated at $60 to $80 billion, making Sandy the second most costly Atlantic Hurricane in history behind Katrina.

EXPANDING SALT MARSHES – A study by The Nature Conservancy  projected inundation of land along the Connecticut coast by the 2080s as sea levels rise, including both building-level impacts and potential marsh ecosystem responses.

HEALTH IMPACTS – Since the hottest days in the Northeast are often associated with high concentrations of ground-level ozone and other pollutants, the combination of heat stress and poor air quality can pose a major health risk to vulnerable groups: young children, the elderly, and those with pre-existing health conditions including asthma. Vector-borne diseases are an additional concern. Most occurrences of Lyme disease in United States are in the Northeast, especially Connecticut. While it is unclear how climate change will impact Lyme disease, several studies in the Northeast have linked tick activity and Lyme disease incidence to climate, specifically abundant late spring and early summer moisture.

THREATS TO INFRASTRUCTURE – In the transportation sector, many of the region’s key highways (including I-95) and rail systems (including Amtrak and commuter rail networks) span areas that are prone to coastal flooding. In addition to temporary service disruptions, storm surge flooding can severely undermine or disable critical infrastructure along coasts, including subway systems, wastewater treatment plants, and electrical substations.

ABOUT CLIMATE NEXUS

Climate Nexus is a strategic communications group dedicated to highlighting the wide-ranging impacts of climate change and clean energy solutions in the United States. www.climatenexus.org

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