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Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States
Global Climate Change Impacts
in the United States
How has climate already changed?
How is it likely to change in the future?
How is climate change affecting us now
where we live and work?
How is it likely to affect us in the future?
What are our options for responding?
This report provides information
we need....
• to make good decisions at the
national, regional, and local levels
• so we can avoid some of the
impacts we’ll be talking
about today
• to be able to better
understand the
consequences of our
decisions about emissions
as well as adaptation
Climate changes are underway now in the
U.S., and are projected to grow
• Temperature rise
• Increase in heavy
• Less snow and earlier
snowmelt lead to
changes in river flows
• Sea-level rise
Temperatures will continue to rise − by how much
depends largely on the amount of heat-trapping gases in
the atmosphere.
Global Average Temperature, 1900 to 2100
Increases in very high temperatures will have
wide-ranging effects.
Higher Emissions Scenario, 2080-2099
Number of Days Over 100ºF
Recent Past, 1961-1979
Lower Emissions Scenario, 2080-2099
Heat-related illnesses and deaths are
projected to increase, especially in cities.
Projected Increase in Heat-Related Deaths in Chicago
Heavy downpours have increased across the
nation and are projected to increase further.
Observed Increases
in Very Heavy
(1958 to 2007)
Water resources will be affected by changing
precipitation patterns and increasing temperatures.
Change in
by 2080-90s
Agriculture will face challenges from increased heat,
pests, water stress, diseases, and weather extremes.
Coastal areas are at increasing risk from
sea-level rise and storm surge.
Florida with 3 feet of Sea-Level Rise
Areas in red
would be under
water with a 3
foot rise in sea
level, projected
for this century
Energy and transportation infrastructure in coastal
areas faces increasing risk.
Gulf Coast Area Roads at Risk from Sea-Level Rise
Climate change will affect many aspects of our lives
as it alters the character of every region.
Ocean Acidification
Thresholds will be crossed, leading to large
changes in ecosystems.
Decreasing Habitat for Coldwater Fish
Based on a Higher Emissions Scenario
Various effects of climate change will interact,
compounding and amplifying impacts.
Water and Energy Interactions
Response Strategies
“Mitigation” – reducing the amount
of climate change, for example, by
reducing heat-trapping emissions or
increasing their removal from the
“Adaptation” – improving our ability
to cope with or avoid harmful impacts
or taking advantage of newly
favorable conditions
Both will be needed.