From Green Right Now Reports
Climate deniers will just have to grit their teeth over the latest report from the EPA showing that climate change is having a current, measurable effect on the Earth.
While this has been news for a while, the EPA’s Climate Change Indicators report, released Tuesday, gathers up the latest stats on heat waves, storms, sea level measurements and glacier melts. All point to a planet under duress.
The agency tracks 24 climate change indicators, and these show that “climate change is a very real problem with impacts already being seen,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation.
Some of the report’s findings:
- Greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are increasing and rose by about 14 percent in the U.S. between 1990 and 2008.
- Average temperatures are rising, with seven of the top 10 warmest years on record in the continental United States occurring since 1990.
- Tropical cyclone intensity has increased in recent decades with six of the 10 most active hurricane seasons have occurred since the mid-1990s.
- Sea levels are rising, and have risen twice as fast as the long term trend since 1993 to 2008.
- Glaciers are melting and the volume of glaciers appears to be diminishing faster over the last decade. (This makes sense, given the warmer temperature trends and the actual disappearance of glaciers, such as two that have gone extinct in Glacier National Park. That national park could become a microcosm of the environmental downward spiral that can be initiated by such changes.).
- The frequency of heat waves has risen steadily since the 1960s.
Those who want to know more should check out the slide show detailing the highlights of the report, supported with graphs and photography. This non-geek, quickie review of climate change in action hits the salient points without getting into an IPCC-level discussion.
For instance, it notes that arctic sea ice is being lost because the oceans and surface air is warming. And as the oceans warm, the ice melt accelerates. The summer arctic melts become more severe, which contributes to rising oceans and a loss of the snow cap that helps reflect the sun’s rays. See the circular problem? This is one of the “feed backs” that scientists refer to when they discuss the tipping points and urgency of dealing with climate change now. The EPA slide show doesn’t get into all that, but does note that the “extent” or reach of sea ice was 24 percent below the average for the 1980s and 1990s. The picture really says it all:
The EPA’s slide show, aimed at a general audience, makes several other concepts understandable without the scientific jargon. It’s slide show on rising temperatures shows that the thermometer isn’t rising uniformly, but in a pattern designed by Mother Nature.
But that doesn’t mean that climate change has been engineered by natural events. It’s clearly the result of human activities, which have pushed the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to heat-trapping levels never before experienced in human history. That’s covered in the slide show also.
See more info from the EPA about climate change on the agency’s website.