U.S. regional climate change impacts

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Monday, 18 January 2010: 4:00 PM
B215 (GWCC)
Donald J. Wuebbles, University of Illinois, Urbana, IL

The assessment of the Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States includes analyses of the potential climate change impacts by region. Many of the impacts of climate change differentially affect one part of the country over another. To illustrate the different impacts, some of the major findings include:

Northeast: agricultural production, including dairy, fruit, and maple syrup, will be increasingly affected as favorable climates shift.

Southeast: accelerated sea-level rise and increased hurricane intensity will have serious impacts.

Midwest: under higher emissions scenarios, reductions in Great Lakes water levels will impact shipping, infrastructure, beaches, and ecosystems.

Great Plains: projected increases in temperature, evaporation, and drought frequency exacerbate concerns regarding the region's declining water resources.

Southwest: water supplies will become increasingly scarce, calling for trade-offs among competing uses, and potentially leading to conflict.

Northwest: salmon and other cold-water species will experience additional stresses as a result of rising water temperatures and declining summer streamflow.

Alaska: thawing permafrost damages roads, runways, water and sewer systems, and other infrastructure.

U.S. islands in the Caribbean and Pacific: climate changes affecting coastal and marine ecosystems will have major implications for tourism and fisheries.

The nation's coasts: significant sea-level rise and storm surge will affect coastal cities and ecosystems around the nation; low-lying and subsiding areas are most vulnerable.

This presentation more fully discusses the findings from the assessment for these various regions.