Climate change impacts
Few people would be making a big deal of climate change if the changes weren’t making big differences in land, air, water, infrastructure and economies — the ingredients of our daily lives. Climate science offers a wide lens on how ecosystems and social systems affect each other. The science and stories behind each impact present more questions we must now answer to support communities into the future.
Impacts of Climate Change
EMISSIONS ARE INCREASING
Increase in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Since 1900
Increase in Atmospheric Methane Since 1900
Increase in Atmospheric Nitrous Oxide Since 1900
An Ongoing Experiment in Our Atmosphere
Since the Industrial Revolution, when humans began rapidly burning fossil fuels for energy and transportation, global carbon dioxide emissions have increased from about 280 parts per million to 405 ppm in 2016. Data from NOAA’s Mauna Loa observatory shows the rate of CO2 growth over the past decade is 100 to 200 times greater than what Earth experienced during the transition from the last Ice Age.
THE HEAT IS ON
of the hottest years on record have occurred since the year 2000
Rising Temperatures Boosting Winds, Wildfires, and Hurricanes
Climate change makes the threat of extreme weather events more likely. And it makes some extreme weather events more severe. Warming temperatures on land and sea, more frequent heat waves, stronger and wetter hurricanes, and hotter, drier, more intense wildfire seasons are the fingerprints of climate change.
THE ICE IS MELTING
The total global ice mass lost from Greenland, Antarctica and Earth’s glaciers and ice caps from 2003-2010 was about 4.3 trillion tons, the equivalent of 172 million Olympic-sized swimming pools.
THE WATER IS RISING
The rise in sea levels from the 20th century has already increased the likelihood of massive storm surges by
Rapidly Rising Seas Are Already Taking A Toll
Melting glaciers and ice sheets are adding water to the ocean. As the water warms, the ocean’s volume expands. This has caused global sea levels to rise about 8 inches since 1880, and about one-eighth of an inch each year since 1993. It’s projected to rise another 1 to 8 feet by 2100, with New York City, New Orleans and Miami among the most affected populations.