NOAA sounding like Noah: head for the hills

Here are some findings on global warming released just now by NOAA.Heat waves will become more frequent and intense, increasing threats to human health and quality of life.
Written by Harry Fuller, Contributor

Here are some findings on global warming released just now by NOAA.

Heat waves will become more frequent and intense, increasing threats to human health and quality of life. Extreme heat will also affect transportation and energy systems, and crop and livestock production.

· Increased heavy downpours will lead to more flooding, waterborne diseases, negative effects on agriculture, and disruptions to energy, water, and transportation systems. · Reduced summer runoff and increasing water demands will create greater competition for water supplies in some regions, especially in the West. · Rising water temperatures and ocean acidification threaten coral reefs and the rich ecosystems they support. These and other climate-related impacts on coastal and marine ecosystems will have major implications for tourism and fisheries. · Insect infestations and wildfires are already increasing and are projected to increase further in a warming climate. · Local sea-level rise of over three feet on top of storm surges will increasingly threaten homes and other coastal infrastructure. Coastal flooding will become more frequent and severe, and coastal land will increasingly be lost to the rising seas.

By breaking out results in terms of region and economic sector the report provides a valuable tool not just for policymakers but for all Americans who will be affected by these trends. Its information can help:

· farmers making crop and livestock decisions, as growing seasons lengthen, insect management becomes more difficult and droughts become more severe; · local officials thinking about zoning decisions, especially along coastal areas; public health officials developing ways to lessen the impacts of heat waves throughout the country; · water resource officials considering development plans; · business owners as they consider business and investment decisions.

Responses to climate change fall into two categories. The first involves “mitigation” measures to limit climate change by reducing emissions of heat-trapping pollution or increasing their removal from the atmosphere. The second involves “adaptation” measures to improve our ability to cope with or avoid harmful impacts, and take advantage of beneficial ones. “Both of these are necessary elements of an effective response strategy,” said Jerry Melillo of the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA, a report co-chair.

“By comparing impacts that are projected to result from higher versus lower emissions of heat-trapping gasses, our report underscores the importance and real economic value of reducing those emissions,” said Tom Karl, director of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C. and one of the co-chairs of the report. “It shows that the choices made now will have far-reaching consequences.”

The report draws from a large body of scientific information, including the set of 21 Synthesis and Assessment reports from the U.S. Global Change Research Program. The government agencies affiliated with the program include the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Health and Human Services, Interior, State, and Transportation; the Environmental Protection Agency; NASA; National Science Foundation; Smithsonian Institution; and the United States Agency for International Development.

The report is available for download.

The report is available for download.

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