Government reports about climate change can be boring and laborious to read. I believe changes in our environment are important, especially at the local level so I’m making an attempt to boil the information down to important and, hopefully, interesting bullet points. I relied heavily on a recent report from California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.
Climate Change Bullet Points:
1) In 2007, there was a 90% statistical certainty that man was responsible for the current global warming trend.
2) Today, there is a 95% statistical certainty that man is responsible for global warming.
3) By 2021, as more data is collected, statistical certainty will climb to 99% pointing to man as the cause for global warming.
4) The greenhouse gases (GHG) that warm the Earth’s surface are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, halocarbons and ozone.
5) In California, emissions from transportation, electrical power generation and the industrial sector account for over 80% of GHG emissions with transportation accounting for the largest portion at 38%.
6) Atmospheric CO2 levels were first documented in 1958 at Mauna Loa, Hawaii at a concentration of 315 parts per million and in May 2013 a mean concentration of 400 was detected.
7) Since monitoring CO2 concentrations in La Jolla, CA, levels have risen from 325 in 1969 to 395 in 2012.
8) CO2 levels in the ocean rise as atmospheric CO2 levels increase, changing the chemistry of the water; this is called ocean acidification.
9) California’s coastal waters are acidifying as evidenced by seawater CO2 and pH levels measured at Monterey Bay; this negatively impacts the local ocean food chain.
10) Since 1895, annual average temperatures have increased by approximately 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit across California.
11) Over the past century, minimum, average and maximum temperatures have all been increasing in California with the nighttime minimum increasing by 2.5 degrees Fahrenheit and the daytime high increasing by 1.5 degrees.
12) Over the past 20 years, the altitude in the atmosphere where temperature drops below freezing has risen by 500 feet indicating warmer conditions at higher elevations.
13) Over the past century, spring runoff to the Sacramento River from the Sierra Nevada Mountains has decreased by 9%
14) Over the past century, surface area of glaciers in the Sierra Nevada has been decreasing with losses ranging from 20% to 70%.
15) The rise in global sea level is attributed to thermal expansion of ocean water and the melting of mountain glaciers and polar ice sheets.
16) Over the past 100 years, sea levels have risen by an average of 7 inches along the California coast with levels at the Golden Gate in San Francisco increasing by 8 inches and 6 inches at La Jolla near San Diego.
17) In Southern California, plant species in certain areas have moved upward by an average of about 213 feet over the past 30 years.
18) The lower edge of the conifer-dominated forest in the Sierra Nevada has been retreating upslope over the past 60 years.
19) Butterflies have been appearing earlier in the spring over the past four decades.
20) Many small mammal species studied in Yosemite National Park showed a movement to higher elevations when compared to earlier century observations.
Don’t get caught up in a finger pointing “who’s responsible for climate change” world, just prepare for a warmer and biologically different future.