CLIMATE CHANGE. A Primer. With Impacts on Washington State. Developed by Richard Badalamente Adapted by LWVWA Climate Change Committee

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CLIMATE CHANGE A Primer With Impacts on Washington State 1 Developed by Richard Badalamente Adapted by LWVWA Climate Change Committee Overview What is climate? How is climate changing? Why is climate changing?
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CLIMATE CHANGE A Primer With Impacts on Washington State 1 Developed by Richard Badalamente Adapted by LWVWA Climate Change Committee Overview What is climate? How is climate changing? Why is climate changing? What are the impacts? What are the costs? What can we do about it? What is Climate? It s NOT weather Climate Pattern of weather in a region weather is what s occurring day-today average weather is determined by climate Climate defined over decades (~30 yrs) Complex interplay of factors determines climate Factors in Climate System The Greenhouse Effect How is Climate Changing? Global Temperature is Rising Annual Mean Temperature 5 year Mean Temperature Why is Global Temperature Rising? - until now Human activity of burning fossil fuels is increasing the amount of heat trapping CO 2 in the atmosphere Graph from NASA: climate.nasa.gov Other Human Activities Contribute to Climate Change Deforestation/Land Use Changes Impact Washington Warmer winters are resulting in less snowpack. Since ~1950 snowpack on April 1 st in the Cascade Mtns has decreased 20%. At 3.9 F above normal average temperatures, 2015 was by far the state s warmest ever recorded. Continued ocean warming and sea level rise (~4 ft by 2100) will impact more than 140,000 acres of coastal lands, including areas of Seattle and Tacoma, with erosion, inundation and flooding. Sea Level Rise Sea Level Rise Ocean Acidification Fundamental change in seawater chemistry Ocean Acidification Degrading Marine Ecosystems Oyster larvae in the Pacific Northwest dying In Eastern Washington Precipitation down 33% Wheat yields down 30% to 60% in 2015 Yakima Valley apple and cherry yields to decline by 20% to 25% by 2020s Salmon are dying in overheated rivers Water Scarcity Persistent droughts No ground water recharge for aquifers Lack of snowpack Reduced stream flows Pest Infestations Spotted-wing drosophilia first detected in California in 2008, was found in western Washington and parts of Oregon in 2009, and by 2010, it was detected in eastern Washington, Michigan, and six other states. Wildfires Over 10 million acres were burned in wildfires in the US in 2015 for the first time ever. Wildfire season in Washington was the largest in state history. Extreme Weather Increased hurricane intensity, storm surges Increased incidence of heat waves Heavy precipitation events, flooding Changes in Ecosystems While warnings of melting glaciers, rising sea levels and other environmental changes are illustrative and important, ultimately, it's the ecological consequences that matter most. (JC Bergengren, et al, J. Climate Change, 2011) Global Climate Change will Terraform the Planet ~40% land-based ecosystem from one type to another, e.g., grassland to desert Plant and animal species unable to migrate Crop, livestock, fishery losses Extinction --loss of biodiversity Invasive species What are the Costs of Climate Change? Remedies for human health and well-being Disaster relief/rebuilding & adaptation Loss of income from agriculture, fisheries, forest product losses Societal displacement What Can We Do About Climate Change? Mitigate reduce the impact Adapt live with it (or not!) Mitigation: Reduce Emissions Conversion stop burning fossil fuels; move to alternatives for energy production Conservation reduce requirements, improve efficiency Alternatives to Fossil Fuels Solar Wind Nuclear Biomass Geothermal Hydroelectric* Natural e.g.,reforestation Geoengineering - e.g., carbon capture & sequestration Examples of Mitigation Adaptation Protect infrastructure, esp. coastlines Store & conserve water, e.g., reservoirs Enhance disaster response, prepare for health effects Modify land use, crops, and crop species Summary Climate change is a result of human activities The impacts of climate change are already being felt worldwide Costs of climate change are immense and escalating Continued use of fossil fuels unsustainable We can, and must solve this problem
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