Climate change has noticeably affected the United States, with observable effects on the environment. Both frost-free and growing seasons have lengthened, precipitation patterns have changed, droughts and heat waves have become more frequent along with other troubling conditions that have manifested and persist due to climate change. Global temperatures have been projected to rise for several decades to come, due to the presence of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere – up to 10 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the century. As such, different regions and countries of the world are being affected differently by the issue; however, as they are implementing programs and regulations to mitigate the harmful effects of climate change, effects have already transpired and have been felt throughout.
Temperatures continue to rise due to human-imposed warming, with temperature variances between states negatively affecting their region. Over the past century, California has warmed by 3 degrees Fahrenheit. With this rise in temperature, ecosystems have gradually gotten hotter and drier, effectively driving a trend towards larger and more frequent wildfires across the state. In the fall season, particularly, whipping winds spread the fire dangerously fast and destructively. It should also be noted that in California, the driest and hottest summers have all taken place in the last 20 years, which also contribute to these occurrences. These attributing factors should be observed as they undoubtedly influence the ecosystem that people depend on to carry-out their lifestyles; rising temperatures and dry climates can decrease farmland and reduce the nutritional value of most food crops.
Since the early 1980s, the intensity, frequency, and duration of hurricanes have been on a steady increase and are projected to increase as the climate warms. The warmth the planet has undergone contributes to the warm, moist environment that impacts hurricanes; 90 percent of the lingering heat reflected by greenhouse gases imbue the ocean. With this, the surface temperature and the environment’s atmospheric moisture fuel tropical storms to become more intense, bigger, and long-lasting. During Hurricane Florence, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s tide gauge surged more than 4 feet above average highs as the storms met the coasts of the Carolinas. The sea height variation from the early 1990’s has increased as well by roughly 90 mm, which contributes to mass flooding all throughout the coasts.
Peak tides are now more frequently flooding the coasts. From years 2005 to 2015, the median annual number of flood days more than doubled along the stretch of coast from Florida to North Carolina. These events of flooding can also contaminate freshwater with saltwater from the sea rendering it undrinkable. Some communities are formulating approaches to limit the impacts from this sea-level rise. Road surfaces are already being elevated in anticipation of the inevitable sea level rise in South Florida. City planners in Annapolis, Maryland have discussed ways to protect the city’s historic dock ranging from improving storm drain systems to elevating some urban features. Evidently, many US cities are proactively moving to combat climate change and the detrimental effect it has on their regions.
Impacts from climate change have been happening and felt from before as well as now. While these effects consist of temperature rises, wildfires and heat waves, hurricanes, and flooding, the list of all effects is quite more extensive and abstract, delving into agricultural aspects, energy facets, and more attributes that affect how people live their lives. These threats convey the importance of climate change mitigation efforts as this issue affects all people indiscriminately. Simple and complex mechanizations to combat this rampancy should be encouraged and implemented for abatement purposes, as climate change not only affects current times but future generations as well.