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National Climate Assessment 2014

Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain.” – Friedrich Schiller

The National Climate Assessment for the United States of America for 2014 was released on May 6. I downloaded the 170MB+ PDF file of the complete report today, but I still find the convenience of the online version compelling. You can explore the highlights of the report, which include an Overview, the 12 overarching findings of the report, and a summary of impacts by region. Or… you can explore the entire report online in addition to the download options.

Cheshire Cat Photo‘s Mission Statement is “To showcase California through photography….℠” The National Climate Assessment counts California among its six states of the Southwest. “The Southwest region includes the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah.” The five Key Messages of the report, for this region, are:

  1. Snowpack and streamflow amounts are projected to decline in parts of the Southwest, decreasing surface water supply reliability for cities, agriculture, and ecosystems.
  2. The Southwest produces more than half of the nation’s high-value specialty crops, which are irrigation-dependent and particularly vulnerable to extremes of moisture, cold, and heat. Reduced yields from increasing temperatures and increasing competition for scarce water supplies will displace jobs in some rural communities.
  3. Increased warming, drought, and insect outbreaks, all caused by or linked to climate change, have increased wildfires and impacts to people and ecosystems in the Southwest. Fire models project more wildfire and increased risks to communities across extensive areas.
  4. Flooding and erosion in coastal areas are already occurring even at existing sea levels and damaging some California coastal areas during storms and extreme high tides. Sea level rise is projected to increase as Earth continues to warm, resulting in major damage as wind-driven waves ride upon higher seas and reach farther inland.
  5. Projected regional temperature increases, combined with the way cities amplify heat, will pose increased threats and costs to public health in southwestern cities, which are home to more than 90% of the region’s population. Disruptions to urban electricity and water supplies will exacerbate these health problems.

Adding to the excitement, the changes to rain and snowpack will affect the region’s 56 million people (predicted to be 94 million by 2050) and the critical agriculture sector, which (once AGAIN) “produces more than half of the nation’s high-value specialty crops….” The competition for water will become even more severe that we see currently.

Oh, California has a COAST with populous coastal cities, ports that handle HALF of the nation’s incoming shipping containers, power plants, and critical infrastructure. This coast will be threatened with rising sea levels, extreme high tides, and storm surges.

In addition, increased threats to biological diversity, increased fire damages, and economic impacts to travel and tourism are forecast:

The region’s rich diversity of plant and animal species will be increasingly stressed. Widespread tree death and fires, which already have caused billions of dollars in economic losses, are projected to increase. Tourism and recreation also face climate change challenges, including reduced streamflow and a shorter snow season, influencing everything from the ski industry to lake and river recreation.

If you live in the United States, you may want to look at the environmental forecast for YOUR region. As for my friends in my old home of the Midwest, I hope that you like increased precipitation, flooding, and severe storms….

-Bill at

Cheshire Cat Photo™ – “Your Guide to California’s Wonderland™”

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