The New York City Panel on Climate Change has just issued its 2015 report; the predictions are less than rosy. It states “Climate risks in the New York metropolitan region are increasing and are projected to continue to increase throughout the 21st century. Higher temperatures, heavy downpours, sea level rise, and intensified coastal flooding are the major climate hazards projected for the region.” (107) Here is its 2010 report.
Archive for Climate Change
According to Unprecedented 21st century drought risk in the American Southwest and Central Plains (Science Advances), climate change will have a devastating impact on the West and Southwest from mid-century on. Drought conditions lasting decades are predicted, based on seventeen different computer modeling programs. Here is an overview on this topic from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Persistent drought in North America: a climate modeling and paleoclimate perspective (2014); other worthwhile reads are A 1,200-year perspective of 21st century drought in southwestern North America (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010); Assessing the Risk of Persistent Drought Using Climate Model Simulations and Paleoclimate Data (Journal of Climate, 2014); Pan-Continental Droughts in North America over the Last Millennium (Journal of Climate, 2014); Megadroughts in North America: placing IPCC projections of hydroclimatic change (Journal of Quarternary Science, 2009); and Severe and sustained drought in southern California and the West: Present conditions and insights from the past on causes and impacts, (Quarternary International, 2007).
The World Risks 2015 from the World Economic Forum ranks “water crises” as the top global risk in terms of impact (Table 1, executive summary). The report goes on to state how environmental risks have increased over time : “The nexus of food, water, energy and climate change has been identified by the US National Intelligence Council as one of four overarching mega trends that will shape the world in 2030.” (Referencing the NIC’s Global Trends 2030)
Climate Change 2014 Synthesis Report “… provides an overview of the state of knowledge concerning the science of climate change, emphasizing new results since the publication of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report in 2007 (AR4).”(3) It is still not good; it states that “Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems. Limiting climate change would require substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions which, together with adaptation, can limit climate change risks.”(18) There is an executive summary for policymakers as well as access to previous reports.
The National Library of Medicine has recently released Climate Change and Human Health, a guide to open access resources. Sites range from medical blogs to IPCC documentation to governmental agencies. Much valuable data can be extracted from this guide. An important tool given the publication of the 800+ page National Climate Assessment report that states “Heat waves, heavy downpours, and sea level rise pose growing challenges to many aspects of life in the Northeast. Infrastructure, agriculture, fisheries, and ecosystems will be increasingly compromised.”(Northeast regional report) Highlights of this tome can also be perused.
The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report - Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability – is presented in two volumes comprising thirty chapters. Volume one deals with global/sectoral aspects such as natural resources, food security, and human settlements; volume two examines climate change through geographical perspectives (here is the chapter on North America). No matter how you look at it, the reports paints a dire pictures. The summary digests the massive amount of data and distills it into a forty-four page abstract. Among its points are: “Human interference with the climate system is occurring and climate change poses risks for human and natural systems”(1); “Based on many studies covering a wide range of regions and crops, negative impacts of change on crop yields have been more common than positive impacts”(7); “Climate change over the 21st century is projected to reduce renewable surface water and groundwater resources significantly in most dry subtropical regions”(15); and “A first step towards adaptation to future climate change is reducing vulnerability and exposure to present climate variability”(23). A valuable review of the IPCC and its assessments is at The Guardian.