A new report released by the Obama administration details the tough toll of climate change on the U.S. and what may happen if it's not addressed. The findings are especially bad for California and Alaska, which will experience severe drought and melting.
The Obama administration released a wide-ranging climate change report on Tuesday, laying out exactly what impact the changing climate is having on the U.S., and what could happen if it isn’t addressed.
The third National Climate Assessment (NCA), a kind of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report focused on the U.S., is the product of years of work by over two hundred climate scientists. A review draft was released last year, but the report has now been signed off by the federal National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee.
The White House will unroll the report’s findings with a PR blitz today, the latest signal that President Barack Obama is placing a fresh emphasis on climate change during his second term in office.
Among the NCA’s findings, four critical conclusions stand out:
1.The Southwest will bake: California’s epic drought has done more than anything else this year to draw attention to the threat of global warming—even if the climate history of the West has shown evidence of decades-long droughts even before humans started pouring carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. But climate change will only make it worse—the reports predicts that the entire region, including states like California and Arizona, will get hotter, and the southern half of the region will get much drier, prompting major wildfires. Given that population in the Southwest has been growing rapidly in recent years, warming will only increase the decades-old competition for water in the West.
2.Alaska will melt: The Arctic is the fastest warming part of the world, which is why Alaska—America’s Arctic state—has been heating up more than twice as rapidly as the rest of the country over the past 60 years. That trend will likely continue in the future, which might sound like good news in a place where winters can last for more than six months. But the retreating summer sea ice, shrinking glaciers and melting permafrost will radically change Alaska—and especially Inuit communities that have lived on the land for thousands of years.
Written By: Bryan Walsh
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