Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Climate Adaptation Vital to Limit Damage So Far

The risk of flooding to millions more people in Asia, Europe and North America will rise, demanding climate adaptation for a warmer world.

Sea level rise has begun changing US east coast tidal ranges. (Image Credit: Missy Schmidt, via Wikimedia Commons) Click to Enlarge.
The probable changes as the world heats are so great that climate adaptation to cope with the inevitable is now essential, scientists are warning.

Forest damage, drought, and floods, for example, will all worsen, and tidal ranges are already changing.  More than half of all the natural vegetation of California is at risk as temperatures rise.

Even were the US and other nations to honor the promises made in the Paris Agreement of 2015, one fourth of California’s natural wilderness would be under stress from global warming, a new study shows.

And on top of temperature rise, California is increasingly at risk from severe drought, says a different study. US government scientists believe they have established a link between the retreat of Arctic sea ice and a decline in rainfall in the Golden State.

Drought and flood
And while California becomes ever more parched, its forests at ever-greater risk of insect attack and wildfire, 43 other US states face a dramatic increase in flood hazard, with a tenfold rise in the numbers of people at risk from the worst river floods.

And – although President Trump has dismissed climate change as a hoax and announced a withdrawal from the Paris Agreement to limit the use of fossil fuels – the tide gauges of the Chesapeake and Delaware Bays on the east coast of the US tell a different story. They confirm that climate change has already begun to affect high and low water tides.

US researchers report in the journal Ecosphere that they looked at the consequences for California if global greenhouse gas emissions continue at their present rate, to go on fueling global warming.

They mapped 30 different vegetation types – California’s canopy includes a huge variety of mountain conifer, forest coastal woodland, upland sagebrush scrub, grassland, and so on – and considered nine climate and precipitation variables, and then looked at computer models of future global warming, which predict – at worst – a global average rise of 4.5°C by 2100.

Read more at Climate Adaptation Vital to Limit Damage So Far

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