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Impact Climate Change Will Have on New York State, USA

43.9N 77.2W

June 22nd, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Lakes AVHRRMetOp

USA and Canada – June 21st, 2013

Climate change in New York state may cause some initially positive effects for certain people, in general it is creating alarming issues. While the long-term outlook for grape-growers in the Finger Lakes region (lower right quadrant) is favorable, it is less than optimal for skiers and other winter sports enthusiasts in the Adirondacks. Fir and spruce trees are expected to die out in the Catskills, and New York City’s backup drinking water supply may well be contaminated as a result of seawater making its way farther up the Hudson River.

These possibilities — modeled deep into this century — are detailed in a new assessment of the impact that climate change will have in New York State. If carbon emissions continue to increase at their current pace, ttemperatures are expected to rise across the state by 3 degrees Fahrenheit by the 2020s and by as much as 9 degrees by the 2080s.

That would have profound effects on agriculture across the state. For example, none of the varieties of apples currently grown in New York orchards would be viable. Dairy farms would be less productive as cows faced heat stress. And the state’s forests would be transformed; spruce-fir forests and alpine tundra would disappear as invasive species like kudzu, an aggressive weed, gained more ground.

If the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets melt, as the report says could happen, the sea level could rise by as much as 55 inches, which means that beach communities would frequently be inundated by flooding. The effects of climate change would fall disproportionately on the poor and the disabled, since in coastal areas in New York City and along rivers in upstate New York there is a high amount of low-income housing that would be in the path of flooding (click here for more information).

Climate Change’s Potential Effects on Coastal Florida

26.7N 82.1W

June 19th, 2013 Category: Climate Change VIIRSSuomi

USA – June 19th, 2013

Climate change poses a tremendous threat to Florida. Sea level rise, more intense precipitation, and stronger hurricanes increase the risk of natural disaster and imperil the state’s economy and its citizens’ safety. Compounding these dangers, increasing coastal population and development will put more people and property at danger. In years to come, those risks will lead to devastating damage if they are not mitigated.

One of the clearest impacts of climate change is the documented rise in sea levels, which has been taking place along Florida’s coasts at more than two centimeters per decade. Higher atmospheric temperatures heat the oceans and water expands as it warms. Sea levels rise further as melt waters from glaciers and continental ice sheets pour into the oceans at high latitudes. This process is expected to accelerate. Sea levels are projected to be three to seven inches higher by 2030 (over 2010), nine to 24 inches higher by 2060, and 39 inches higher by 2100, and the rise will continue long thereafter.

Even apart from larger storm surges, these sea level rises will have major impacts on coastal Florida, where 80 percent of the state’s population lives. Because so much of the shoreline is flat and low-lying, the impacts of even small rises extend far inland. Taking tidal variations into account, a one-foot rise can move the shoreline inward by more than a thousand feet. Most of this inundation will affect undeveloped land, especially in South Florida, replacing upland plant communities with mangroves and marshes and replacing those with tidal flats and open water. Commercial and recreational fisheries dependent on those coastal ecosystems and estuaries for spawning will be damaged along with many bird and animal populations

Falling Water Levels in the Salton Sea, USA – June 19th, 2013

33.2N 115.7W

June 19th, 2013 Category: Climate Change, Lakes MODISTerra

USA – June 17th, 2013

The Salton Sea is a victim of climate change and reduced quantities of water. The Salton Sea is (still) the largest lake of California. Lately, however, the water levels in the Sea have dropped with as much as 3 feet a year. Many fear that if nothing is done about it, there will be nothing left of the lake in a few decades.

This will cause new problems. Palm Springs, 35 miles north, fears dust storms of pesticide polluted salt particles. Environmentalists fear for the millions of migratory birds for whom this is the last remaining wetland in California. So far all initiatives to save the sea have failed. The Salton Sea is a perfect example of the choices that are made when the water runs out – the big cities and massive agricultural lands are priviledged (click here for more information).

Fire in Sierra Nevada Foothills, California, USA – June 18th, 2013

37.3N 119.7W

June 18th, 2013 Category: Fires, Image of the day MODISTerra

USA – June 17th, 2013

A plume of smoke from a wildfire burning in the wooded foothills of the Sierra Nevada, east of California’s Great Central Valley, can be seen just to the right of the center of this image. The smoke from the fire is blowing towards the south-southeast, trailing over the valley.

The Role of Bering Strait in Regulating the Global Climate

65.4N 169.9W

June 18th, 2013 Category: Climate Change AVHRRMetOp

Russia and USA – June 17th, 2013

Alaska’s Bering Strait may play a critical role in the regulation of the global climate — including a knack for maintaining the Atlantic Ocean “conveyor belt” that bathes northern Europe in sultry currents and warm wet weather.

But squeeze shut the 53-mile-wide narrows between the Pacific and Arctic oceans off the western tip of Alaska — something that occurred during the last ice age when continental ice sheets locked up much of the world’s fresh water — and the oceanic engine that stabilizes the home planet’s climate becomes much more likely to go on the fritz and stay that way for a long time.

These resulting shutdowns have previously stalled the Gulf Stream and triggered abrupt swings between warmer and frigid climates, what scientists call Dansgaard-Oeschger and Heinrich events. These jarring shifts struck the North Atlantic as many as 25 times between 80,000 and about 11,000 years ago, all during moments when the Bering Land Bridge blocked all flow between Pacific and Arctic oceans.

The flow of the Gulf Stream and other elements of the global ocean circulation system deliver warm salty water to the North Atlantic, where it cools, grows denser, and sinks. At depth, this dense salty water starts flowing south. It then keeps rolling, eventually crawling into other hemispheres along a network of deep ocean currents that meander the globe over hundreds of years while equalizing the climate.

But introduce massive amounts of less dense fresh water into the mix, and the North Atlantic sinking starts to sputter, slowing the deep currents to the point where they temporarily die. The paradoxical result can be a chilldown of northern Europe and perhaps the entire northern hemisphere. Thus, smooth functioning of the Atlantic ocean “conveyor” becomes a “critical link” in keeping the world’s climate from making these wild swings (click here for more information).

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