If you like weird weather — floods, heat waves, droughts, record snow storms — you’re in luck: There will be more of it. Federal scientists have released a report on the likely effects of climate change, and they predict more of what we’ve seen lately around the country — extreme weather conditions, including earlier, and more frequent, heat waves.
A couple of weeks ago, one of Georgia’s more eccentric legislators, U.S. Rep. Paul Broun, stood up on the floor of the House to denounce the Obama administration for one more way it is allegedly trying to kill old people: hyperthermia (extreme heat). He denounced proposed energy legislation for a supposed tax that will make it impossible for the elderly to pay their electric bills, and they “depend on air conditioning to live,” he said. (Watch the video below.)
It’s interesting that Broun and other Republicans don’t see the very same threat from climate change, which the energy bill intends to ameliorate.
Earlier this month, the Obama administration released a report on the long range effects of climate change. The Guardian featured a wrap up of predictions by region:
What lies ahead by region
The winter snow season could be cut in half in southern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine — maybe as short as a week or two, under the higher emissions scenario. This would destroy winter traditions like skiing and skating and outdoor ponds. Native cranberries and blueberries would disappear; dairy herds, the biggest agricultural industry, would decline under the higher emissions scenario.
Summer temperatures in Florida could rise by 4.1C (10.5F), with the heat effect multipled by decreased rainfall under the higher emissions scenario. There would be increased hurricane intensity and rising sea levels leads to loss of wetlands and coastal areas. It would lead to a severe decline in quality of life.
Frequent, severe and longer lasting heatwaves in cities – as many as three a year in Chicago under the higher emissions scenario.
Water levels in the Great Lakes could fall by up to two feet by the end of the century under the higher emissions scenario.
Continued strong warming will threaten flow of Colorado river.
Has been warming at twice the rate of the rest of the US over last 50 years.
Temperatures could rise up to a further 5.4C (13F) under the higher emissions scenario. The region should be prepared for drought and increased risk of wildfire.
Declining snowpack is already threatening agriculture. Many salmon species are already threatened
But the weather won’t just be hotter. Record snow falls like the one that Washington, DC experienced last winter are very much part of the predictable pattern from climate change, according to climatologists:
But this season’s precipitation levels, combined with atypical temperature fluctuations, reflect what climate experts say will be some of the side effects of global warming. A study released last December by the group Environment Illinois suggests global warming will result in more extreme rain and snowfall as warmer temperatures speed up evaporation and allow clouds to hold more precipitation.
Conservatives like Broun are fond of railing against the federal debt, citing concerns that their grandchildren will be overburdened by taxes. Strange that they don’t worry about their grandchildren suffering through severe droughts, floods and hurricanes as a result of global warming.