Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

May 7, 2014

National Climate Assessment

Filed under: Climate Change — by Philip J. Palin on May 7, 2014

Tuesday the Third National Climate Assessment was released.  The full report is a digital heavy-weight.  You can download individual pieces here.

According to a White House summary, “the report finds that, on the whole, summers are longer and hotter, with longer periods of extended heat. Wildfires start earlier in the spring and continue later into the fall. Rain comes down in heavier downpours. People are experiencing changes in the length and severity of seasonal allergies. And climate disruptions to water resources and agriculture have been increasing.”

The report is detailed, data-driven, and the online version is media-rich. In my opinion, the web-site is over-complicated and it uses a great deal of white text on blue background or thin light blue on white background… initially pleasing but not good for sustained engagement.

I suggest downloading the overview PDF (20 pages, 4.93 MB) and starting there. Reports on individual states are also available.

There are alternative views. Writing at Fox News, Mario Lewis offers, “the new report is an alarmist document designed to scare people and build political support for unpopular policies such as carbon taxes, cap-and-trade, and EPA regulatory mandates.”

There is a section of the report on Response Strategies.  I cannot recommend the website for accessing this information.  You can download five separate PDFs here, scroll down.

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Comment by Rubin, claire

May 7, 2014 @ 5:12 am

Overview link does not work.

Comment by Philip J. Palin

May 7, 2014 @ 6:03 am


Thank you. I have corrected on the front page. Here is a direct link: http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/system/files_force/downloads/low/NCA3_Overview_LowRes.pdf?download=1

Unfortunately, you must download the PDF, you cannot open inside your browser.

Comment by Christopher Tingus

May 7, 2014 @ 5:27 pm

A reconstruction of past changes in the North and Central Patagonian Ice-field, which plays a vital role in the hydrology of the region, has revealed the ice field had suddenly contracted around 15,000 years ago after a southerly migration of westerly winds.

This migration of westerly winds towards the south pole has been observed again in modern times and is expected to continue under a warming climate, likely leading to further ice declines in this area affecting seasonal water storage.

“We found that precipitation brought to this region by Southern Hemisphere westerlies played an important role in the glaciation of the North Patagonian Ice-Fields,” said Dr Chris Fogwill from the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.

“Our research has shown this ice-field significantly reduced in size when those winds moved southwards.”

The North Patagonian Ice-field is vital to maintain seasonal water storage capacity for Argentina and Chile.

“Worryingly, this study suggests the region may well be on a trajectory of irreversible change, which will have profound impacts on agriculture and the increasing dependency on hydroelectric power in Chile and Argentina,” Dr Fogwill said.

The team revealed the importance of the winds on the ice-sheets and consequent water supply by using rare isotopes to uncover changes in the ice-sheet thickness since the last major glaciation. This revealed the decline in the ice-sheet between 15,000 to 19,000 years ago.

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