181 Evidence of Climate change within the five Regions in Virginia

Monday, 11 January 2016
Darlette M. Meekins, Virginia State University, Glen Allen, VA; and S. sriharan

Abstract This will be my first semester in implementing a Climate Change Course. The workshop has presented me with many ideas. I plan to begin the semester with an overview of climate change and its impact on the Earth's system. Later in the course, I will focus our studies on a specific geographic locality. The locality of choice is the 5 regions in Virginia. Virginia has a variety of Climate conditions. My goal is for the students to gain a perspective on how much of an impact we have on the climate changes that are occurring. Virginia being an agricultural state; (Commonwealth) it is to our advantage to empower our students with ways to create a more sustainable environment. There are five regions in Virginia and thus the students will be divided to five groups. Each group will study a region over the course of the semester and compile a presentation on the evidence and effects of climate change in their region. Virginia has five distinct climate regions, (Figure 1): Coastal, Piedmont, Blue Ridge, Valley & Ridge and the Appalachian Plateau. Virginia's climate is considered mild for the United States but can be quite variable because of significant topographic differences across the commonwealth and the influence of the Atlantic Ocean. Climate varies significantly across the state because of differences in topography. The Atlantic Ocean and its river of warm water, (Gulf Stream) contributes to the states precipitation climate. The high relief of the Appalachian and Blue Ridge mountain systems also contributes to Virginias climate, with it great quantities of rainfall. Virginia's river systems drain the terrain in all four geographical directions. (Hayden, Bruce and Michaels, Patrick, Virginia's Climate, website: http://climate.virginia.edu/description.htm ) Climate Change is having a significant impact across Virginia. According to the National Wildlife Foundation, NWF, 2013, “Virginia is projected to experience a range of impacts from climate change from sea-level rise along the coast to increasing air and water temperatures and changes to precipitation patterns.” Our students will study the impact of climate change on the five regions of Virginia. We will compare changes that have occurred across Virginia within the last fifty years. The study will illustrate the change of Carbon Dioxide emission across the Commonwealth. It will include some of the human induced effects like weather, wildlife, food production and water. Our results will be presented in a poster format. We will use Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to illustrate the results of our climate change research. This study will serve as the preliminary segment of our Climate Change Studies. We plan to expand each area of study as time progresses. Figure 1: (website) five climate regions of Virginia, and their economic resources.

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