The National Climate Assessment is a federal advisory committee that explores the impacts of climate change in the United States currently and in the future. Some may be asking what is global climate change? Well according to NASA climate change is ‘the broader range of changes that are happening to our planet.’ These changes include rising sea levels, shrinking mountain glaciers, the acceleration of ice melting in Greenland, Antarctica, and the Arctic, and the shifts in flower or plant blooming times. Climate change is often mentioned with the term global warming which is the long-term warming of the planet. The aforementioned changes on the planet can be attributed to the warming that has been taking place over the last century. Warming is caused primarily from people burning fossil fuels and putting out heat-trapping gasses into the air.
The National Climate Assessment used a team of more than 300 experts to produce the in-depth report that highlights evidence that the global climate is changing, specifically in the US. The temperatures on the surface of the earth, the troposphere and the oceans have all increased in recent decades. But the biggest increases in temperature are happening closer to the poles, specifically in the Arctic. This warming has decreased snow and ice cover in many areas. The sea level is rising because water expands as it warms and the melting ice on land adds water to the ocean. Another observation talked about in the study is increased season length. The increase in extreme heat and heavy precipitation, and a decrease in extreme cold has also been observed worldwide. All of these factors lead to the belief that there is no doubt that the planet is warming.
Is Climate Change Real?
Many still are skeptical whether or not climate change is real despite observations that climate change is happening. Fossil fuels burned by humans like coal and oil are one of the main reasons for global warming and climate change. Politically both sides have a strong opinion whether climate change is real, the effects or lack of its having and the potential outcome if things don’t change one way or another. If a proponent of the fossil fuel industry in America than many conservation groups will point to the money surrounding fossil fuel production as there reason to avoid the observations of scientists that believe climate change is happening because of human behavior. The burning of fossil fuels produces global warming and climate change. Your view whether climate change is real may be based on your political view or how you view the energy producing fossil fuels that power the US and much of the world.
The majority of scientists believe that climate change is real and is being caused by humans. There are very few scientists against climate change because of the evidence and reports like the National Climate Assessment that goes into detail about climate change.
The US Climate Change
The average US temperature has increased 1.3 degree F to 1.9 degree F since 1895 when record keeping began. Most of the increase in temperature has happened since about 1970. The most recent decade was the warmest on record in the US. Surface air temperature is the most cited measure of climate change but other aspects that are affected by temperature are more directly related to human society. Some examples are reduced glacier extent, earlier melting of snowpack, reduced lake levels due to increased evaporation, lengthening of the growing season, increased humidity, rising ocean temperatures, rising sea level and changes in some types of extreme weather.
With higher winter temperatures, some agricultural pests can live year-round, and new pests and diseases may come from warmer winters. The frost-free season has lengthened in some parts of the US by 2-3 weeks in the Northwest and Southwest, 1-2 weeks in the Northeast, Midwest and Great Plains, and less than one week in the Southeast.
The global warming that has taken place over the last 50 years is primarily due to human activities, specifically from burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) and from deforestation. The emissions that affect the climate include heat-trapping gases like carbon monoxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide.
Changes in extreme weather and climate events have increased in recent decades and some are believed to be because of human activities. As the world warms it has created many other changes to the earth’s climate. Some extreme weather has increased in strength and in number in the US. Much of the US has seen increases in longer periods of excessively high temperatures, heavy downpours and in some regions extreme floods or droughts.
Winter storms have increased in frequency and strength since the 1950’s and have shifted northward over the US.
All of these claims are backed up in the National Climate Assessment which had many scientific experts involved who are studying global warming and climate change in the US.