The National Climate Assessment (NCA) team of over 300 experts and 60 advisors released their third report on May 6th, 2014.  The primary findings were that the climate all across the United States is certainly already changing as a result of climate change. The report states, “climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present.” The scientists agree that drastic changes are already being experienced. The average temperature in the United States has increased by 1.3°F to 1.9°F since 1895, with the most significant upsurges occurring since 1970. The report provides multiple future scenarios based on the rate of escalation of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane. By the end of this century, a rise of 3°F to 5°F is forecasted if emissions decrease in comparison to 2014 levels, while an average temperature increase of 5°F to 10°F could occur if emissions accelerate.

This third report by the NCA is published as a section on GlobalChange.gov, which was developed by 13 separate federal agencies including the National Aeronautics Space Administration (NASA), the Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation. The site is incredibly easy to navigate.  It contains engaging interactive and visual components intended to make the content easy for all citizens to access, read, and digest. The focus on impacts to America is unique in comparison to other recent scientific studies such as the IPCC’s fifth assessment report on global climate change mitigation.

The New York Times says the report “did find some benefits from climate change in the short run, particularly for the Midwest, such as a longer growing season for crops and a longer shipping season on the Great Lakes. But it warned that these were likely to be countered in the long run by escalating damages, particularly to agriculture.”

The region-by-region look at climate issues affecting the United States further drives the message home to readers.  The report unveiled facts about the Northeast (where Resonate LLC is headquartered), including:

  • Between 1895 and 2011, temperatures in the Northeast increased by almost 2 ̊F (a rate of 0.16 ̊F per decade).
  • Precipitation increased by approximately five inches, or more than 10% (a rate of 0.4 inches per decade).
  • Coastal flooding has increased due to a rise in sea level of approximately one foot since1900. This rate of sea level rise exceeds the global average of approximately 8 inches.

With recent weather events in the Northeast such as Hurricane Irene, Hurricane Sandy, and the record-breaking blizzards of the 2013-2014 winter, we can easily draw correlations to these hard-hitting facts.

We urge sustainability managers and teams to visit www.GlobalChange.gov to review the site. Consider how you may be able to use the site to help educate people in your organization or to better assess the future risks and impacts of climate change on your business. We would love to hear your thoughts and reactions to the website and the report and any ways you intend to use it. Please e-mail us directly at info@sustrana.com, or post a comment on our Facebook or LinkedIn pages!