How Changing Climate Affects the U.S.

June 11, 2014

An updated study now observes local consequences.

Changes in climate are already negatively impacting the environment in the U.S., according to the third edition of the EPA report “Climate Change Indicators in the United States.”

The study pulls together observed data on environmental measures such as temperature, precipitation, ocean heat and acidity, the length of growing seasons, and others. Taken together, the data yields 30 indicators of how climate change affects environmental and human health in the U.S. and globally.

Findings include:

  • Average temperatures have risen in the continental U.S. consistently since 1901, with an increased rate of warming over the last 30 years. Seven of the top 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1998.
  • Tropical storm activity in the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico has increased during the past 20 years.
  • The highest sea level rise on the U.S. coastline occurred among the Mid-Atlantic coast and parts of the Gulf Coast. Some measuring stations registered increases of more than 8 inches in the sea level between 1960 and 2013.
  • The rise in sea level is partially due to the loss of glacial ice, which has been melting at an accelerated rate over the last decade.
  • Between 2000 and 2013, every part of the Southwest experienced higher average temperatures than the long-term average, which dates back to 1895.
  • Water levels in most of the Great Lakes have declined in the last few decades.

The report also examines impacts on human health and society by incorporating indicators related to the incidence of Lyme disease, heat-related deaths, and pollen season. For example, unusually hot summer temperatures have become more common, leading to a higher risk of heat-related deaths and illness. The warmer temperatures and delayed fall frosts also allow ragweed plants to continue producing pollen later into the year, prolonging allergy season for affected people.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Buildings, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Building Better Schools

Download this digital resource to better understand the challenges and opportunities in designing and operating educational facilities for safety, sustainability, and performance...

Tips to Keep Facility Management on Track

How do you plan to fill the knowledge gap as seasoned facility managers retire or leave for new opportunities? Learn about the latest strategies including FM tech innovations ...

The Beauty & Benefits of Biophilic Design in the Built Environment

Biophilic design is a hot trend in design, but what is it and how can building professionals incorporate these strategies for the benefits of occupants? This eHandbook offers ...

The Benefits of Migrating from Analog to DMR Two-Way Radios

Are you still using analog two-way radios? Download this white paper and discover the simple and cost-effective migration path to digital DMR radios that deliver improved audio...