112 Regional Differences in Vulnerability to Climate Change in the United States: State Climatologists discuss challenges and opportunities in the Southeastern United States

Monday, 7 January 2013
Exhibit Hall 3 (Austin Convention Center)
Pamela N. Knox, Univ. of Georgia, Athens, GA; and C. Fuhrman and C. E. Konrad

Handout (2.1 MB)

State climatologists are often considered one of the most trusted sources of climate information by the public. In this research, state climatologists (SCs) from seven states and territories in the Southeastern United States were interviewed using a semi-structured format and asked to discuss their states' unique climates and how they related to agriculture, water resources, energy production, coastal environments and other climate-related aspects of economic activity and growth. The wide-ranging discussions showed the resilience of the Southeast due to widely available water supplies, ample arable land for agriculture, and a broad variation in climate across the region which provides potential for a wide variety of crops and agricultural activity. SCs also discussed how observed and predicted trends in climate were affecting and would continue to affect those economic activities in the future. Based on the interviews, the authors concluded that that even in a warmer, drier climate regime, abundant water, sunshine, and open land would continue to provide opportunities for maintaining and potentially increased crop production compared to other regions of the country where higher temperatures and conflicts over water could be significant factors. Major challenges that the Southeast will face include increased temperatures, changes in the distribution of precipitation over time and space, and increased likelihood of droughts.
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