California Climate Change Report

David Perlman, the long time San Francisco Chronicle science writer, has a sobering front-page article about climate change in California.  The California Environmental Protection Agency has released a 240 page “Indicators of Climate Change in California” report detailing 36 of them.  OMG!  The press release for the report captures the danger:

Key findings of the report include:
  • Temperatures:  The state’s high, low and average temperatures are all rising, and extreme heat events also have increased in duration and frequency. The rate of warming has accelerated since the mid1970s, and night time (minimum) temperatures have increased almost twice as fast as maximum (daytime) temperatures.
  • Wildfires:  The number of acres burned by wildfires has been increasing since 1950.The size, severity, duration and frequency of wildfires are greatly influenced by climate. The three largest fire years on record in California occurred in the last decade, and annual acreage burned since 2000 is almost twice that for the 1950-2000 period.
  • Water: Spring snow melt runoff has decreased, indicating warmer winter temperatures and more precipitation falling as rain rather than snow. Earlier and decreased run off can reduce water supplies, even when overall rainfall remains the same. This trend could mean less water available for agriculture, the environment and a growing population.
  • Coast and Ocean: A number of indicators reflect physical and biological changes in the ocean, impacting a range of marine species, including sea lions, seabirds and salmon. And data for Monterey Bay shows increased carbon dioxide levels in coastal waters, which can harm shell-forming organisms and have impacts throughout the marine food chain.
  • Species Migration: Certain plants and animals have responded to habitat changes influenced by warming. For example, conifer forests in the Sierra Nevada have been moving upslope and certain small mammals in Yosemite National Park have moved to higher elevations compared to the early 1900s.
The Springs fire continues to grow on May 3, 2013 near Camarillo, California.

The Springs fire continues to grow on May 3, 2013 near Camarillo, California.

For the full report see here.  A summary is here.  For a May Scientific Consensus on Maintaining Humanity’s Life Support Systems in the 21st Century, see here.

 

 

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