Climate change is already occurring across the planet, according to the White House’s National Climate Assessment report. The report, containing detailed records spanning a period of 50 years, shows that human activity is the main cause of recent climatic change, and says that immediate global action and cooperation is needed in order to slow the process.
With long periods of drought already experienced on the United States’ West Coast, and flooding on the East Coast, it is evident that human-induced climate change is currently unfolding and most be slowed, or the U.S. and the rest of the world will suffer such catastrophes like rising ocean levels and lasting infrastructure damage, as well as the predicted scarcity of food and other resources.
In addition to the White House’s National Climate Assessment report, Americans across the country have become more aware of the climate changes taking place across the country. Many notice that the summer season has become longer and more intense, with heat waves lasting a record amount of days at a time. The winter season has become noticeably shorter and warmer for some, colder and longer for others. Rains have arrived in heavier, sporadic torrents. Americans have also faced increased allergic reactions during the spring season, while also noticing changes in species of birds and plants..
The more drastic changes that indicate that climate change is already occurring involve cities along the coast who have frequent flooding. Other inland areas away from the coasts have also experienced flooding from large rivers and streams. In the Midwest and Northeast regions of the United States insurance rates have skyrocketed, and flood insurance is totally unavailable in some areas. In western states the combination of an earlier snow melt and warmer, drier weather conditions has made it very easy for wildfires to spread. Starting earlier and ending later, these fires have burned more square miles than in previous recorded history.
In Northern Alaska, sea ice previously present during the summer has diminished and rainstorms in the fall season have caused erosion, posing a threat to surrounding communities. According to both the White House’s National Climate Assessment report and local authorities, people living in this area will most likely face evacuation in the near future.
the report also states that infrastructure damage is being reported throughout the U.S., as shown by roads in the East Coast collapsing from the amount of water. American infrastructure was designed only for past weather conditions, and not meant for the changes occurring recently.Found in the overview of the White House’s National Climate Assessment report, climate change, among other societal and economic stress factors, will make the task of maintaining U.S. infrastructure one of the nation’s highest priorities, along with reducing industrial emissions.
In the short run some climate change might be beneficial to farmers in the Midwest, in a longer growing season. This would also create a longer season to ship materials across the Great Lakes. However the benefits are uncertain, and could reverse to a quick, strained growing season, as the report overview also states.
The data mentioned in the White House report was collected from climate researchers who keep up with world trends. Specially, the data was collected from a broad number of resources, including satellites, weather channels, ocean buoys, and tide gauges. The information all points to the conclusion that the earth has been undergoing a series of difficulties linked to climate change, and that it will be occurring in worsening levels as the years pass.
As the National Climate Assessment report’s overview specifically states, the water level has risen in the oceans, rain patterns have changed, acidity levels in the oceans have greatly increased, and the earth has seen an increase in the number of disasters such as hurricanes. In addition, the northern glaciers have experienced rapid change, with the most decline of ice in history occurring within the past decade.
Climate change and global warming in the past 50 years has been linked to increased human industrial activity, as carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gas levels increase sharply. “The emissions come mainly from burning coal, oil, and gas, with additional contributions from forest clearing and some agricultural practices,” says the White House report.
While climate change is already occurring, and will continue to do so for several centuries to come, the White House National Climate Assessment report, as well as other environmental research, agrees that humans still have time to reduce the speed at which these events take place. The research team says that, although this presents a difficult task for the world, it is important for citizens to understand the importance of taking action now against climate change, and prepare for future consequences of environmental damage.
By Scott Gaudinier