US CCSP Report Finds Climate Change Already Affecting Agriculture, Land and Water Resources and Biodiversity
27 May 2008
The US Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) released the latest of its series of synthesis and assessment reports, Synthesis and Assessment Product 4.3 (SAP 4.3): The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity in the United States.
The report, written by 38 authors from the universities, national laboratories, non-governmental organizations, and federal service, finds that climate change is already affecting US agriculture; land and water resources; and biodiversity, and will continue to do so. The report underwent expert peer review by 14 scientists through a Federal Advisory Committee formed by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) also coordinated in the production of the report.
The CCSP integrates the federal research efforts of 13 agencies on climate and global change. The new report is one of the most extensive examinations of climate impacts on US ecosystems. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the lead agency for this report and coordinated its production as part of its participation in the CCSP. Specific findings include:
Grain and oilseed crops will mature more rapidly, but increasing temperatures will increase the risk of crop failures, particularly if precipitation decreases or becomes more variable.
Higher temperatures will negatively affect livestock. Warmer winters will reduce mortality but this will be more than offset by greater mortality in hotter summers. Hotter temperatures will also result in reduced productivity of livestock and dairy animals.
Forests in the interior West, the Southwest, and Alaska are already being affected by climate change with increases in the size and frequency of forest fires, insect outbreaks and tree mortality. These changes are expected to continue.
Much of the United States has experienced higher precipitation and streamflow, with decreased drought severity and duration, over the 20th century. The West and Southwest, however, are notable exceptions, and increased drought conditions have occurred in these regions.
Weeds grow more rapidly under elevated atmospheric CO2. Under projections reported in the assessment, weeds migrate northward and are less sensitive to herbicide applications.
There is a trend toward reduced mountain snowpack and earlier spring snowmelt runoff in the Western United States.
Horticultural crops (such as tomato, onion, and fruit) are more sensitive to climate change than grains and oilseed crops.
Young forests on fertile soils will achieve higher productivity from elevated atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Nitrogen deposition and warmer temperatures will increase productivity in other types of forests where water is available.
Invasion by exotic grass species into arid lands will result from climate change, causing an increased fire frequency. Rivers and riparian systems in arid lands will be negatively impacted.
A continuation of the trend toward increased water use efficiency could help mitigate the impacts of climate change on water resources.
The growing season has increased by 10 to 14 days over the last 19 years across the temperate latitudes. Species’ distributions have also shifted.
The rapid rates of warming in the Arctic observed in recent decades, and projected for at least the next century, are dramatically reducing the snow and ice covers that provide denning and foraging habitat for polar bears.
I got an idea....lets get rid of everything, and plant everything in corn, and make corn kernel ethanol out of everything! (for those of you that recognize it, that sarcasm!)
Posted by: Mark A | 27 May 2008 at 12:15 PM
We just had the longest winter (6+ months with snow on the ground) since many decades. Tree leaves and flowers are 2+ weeks late. The month of May 2008 is one of the coolest in many years. October and November 2007 were also cooler. Ground level frost (-1 C) posible in many regions tonight. That may be another cold record.
Even with this very long snowy (500 cm) winter, we did not have extreme cold days. Nothing below -24C and very few days below -20C.
Is this just a short term exception or is climate warming over?
Posted by: HarveyD | 27 May 2008 at 02:05 PM
There has been no global warming at all in the 21st century. Although some people say global warming causes cooler temperatures. Got it?
Posted by: d burgdorff | 27 May 2008 at 08:24 PM
My family and I just took a trip to Colorado over the holiday weekend. Everywhere above 7,000 feet has a minimum of several feet of snow on the ground. we have been taking this trip every year for the past 25 years. It's the end of May and it looks like its the end of March. With the amount of the snowpack it probably will not all melt this year. In fact the 10 day forecast was calling for more snow by next weekend.
Posted by: Joseph | 27 May 2008 at 08:56 PM
Sure, we've had global warming in the 21 C. Taking an averaging look at the temperatures, they have continued upward till the last year or so. Only then have they leveled off & descended a bit which is a great additional effect from La Nina. However, the denialists mark temperatures from the individual hot year of 1998, a technique they themselves denied as proper. Instead of proper curve smoothing & averaging 1998 into the data, they discovered they could hoist aloft the belief for an extended cooling trend by highlighting 1998.
Joseph...We've had grand & tremendous snowfalls too, with our May 2008 Cascade mtn snows looking like late February snows of decades past. But the snow is really flooding water out of the mtns now with the warming weather. A lot of snow in one winter, doesn't mean that glaciers & more permanent ice are forming. HarveyD said it best. We got lots of winter snow, but in our case, no 10 degree to 0 degree fahrenheit temps as is often the case(or was 15 years ago). Actual colder than normal weather didn't arrive till February & later, hardly a span of time to say that global warming is over(unless you are working to 'prove' global cooling).
Posted by: | 27 May 2008 at 10:24 PM
Thanks for real observations. I've traveled the rockies during the summer months. Up at the 12,000ft pass to Snowmass and Aspen, the highway is usually only open for a few months of the year. I'm very curious how it goes this summer.
Antartica had a record setting ice pack size last year as well, breaking all previous records. Plus in the last several decades broke cold records as well for the entire world.
We still do not understand enough about global climate.
Saying there is global climate change is like admitting the wind blows.
And the temperature levels flatlined a decade ago, with a drop last year. And some climate analyst are now beginning to predict a cooling trend.
Problem is our models still do not have enough information to predict long term events. Plus, they do not compensate enough for hot spot recordings from historical markers that once were in cooler surroundings.
What is wrong with saying, "we don't know" but moving forward with energy independence?
Posted by: Michael | 27 May 2008 at 11:44 PM
This year we had a winter reprieve from a series of record warmest winters ... Why?
The Arctic ice sheet summer melt was at 50%, and the huge amount of floating ice moderated the climate. With this years summer melt it will be interesting to see how the arctic pack ice survives, and how much additional melt & breakup of pack ice there is ...
If ever we were shown the "hand writing on the wall"* this is it. Mother nature has warned us to change our ways. When all of the scientists who study nature tell us that things are being changed, it is in our own best interests to listen, not to simply deny the evidence.
*(reference to a prediction by the Biblical but fictitious Daniel)
Posted by: | 27 May 2008 at 11:48 PM
We have two contradictory statements. One by burgdorff, claiming no temp change in this century. the other by "anonymous" stating that an "averaging" look at temperatures stats otherwise.
Gentlemen, could you state your sources?
Posted by: tthoms | 28 May 2008 at 09:22 AM
El Nino and La Nina are periodic weather events, not climate changes. The outsized el Nino of 1998 produced a spike and a sizeable anomolous peak in warming, but 1998 was still not as warm as the mid 1930s.
But with its inclusion, the 20 years of warming trend line went from innocuous warming, in the Northern Hemisphere and cooling in the Southern Hemsiphere, to a noticeble amount.
Since 2000 the world Mean Global Temperature whatever that is worth, (bucket of warm Spit?) has been in stasis or declining slightly.
These short term trends are not enough to establish patterns save that 21st Century Science is establishing that CO2 was overated in the 1960s and 1970s, by at least one but probably two orders of magnitude in its anti-cooling (ie "warming") effect.
Yes CO2 causes a GHG effect that retards energy return to Space, hence anti-cooling, or pseudo-warming, but at a few hundreths of a single degree per century, its true effect is negligible, and not earth shattering.
Since the end of WWII, in 1945, we have had 40 years of tiny temperature declines, 20 years of tiny temperature rises, and followed by now ten years of very tiny declines.
In summary, 50 years down, 20 years up and massive chicken little hysteria; and as an excuse for politicians to rant and to raise taxes.
Posted by: | 29 May 2008 at 10:36 AM
The earth heats up the earth cools down... repeat.... repeat.......infinitum! We pay these pin heads to state the obvious. The earth is how old? Four Billion something? How long have living organisms been inhabiting this globe. How many times in the past 200 million years has Siberia and Yukon gone from freezeland to balmy annd back again?
How many angels can really dance on the head of a pin? Take into consideration that enhanced computer aided "angels mass" models have shown that the average angel's mass has increased by 3 nanograms since 1.5 million BCE. Now that is a study worthy of some real grant money!
Here's to the arrogant and the sheeple!
Rikiki, the angel growth non-denier.
Posted by: Rikiki | 31 May 2008 at 07:46 PM
The Anon. post of May 27, 2008 at 10:24:19 was mine, litesong.
Posted by: litesong | 10 June 2008 at 12:03 PM
The so called decade of temperatures flatlining is based on the large temperature spike of 97/98. Looking at the moving averages, you will see that temperatures are going up.
This winter was not colder. It was moister due to la nina. A prediction that I read about in July/August of last year. Check NOAA for stats on how this winter fit in statistically. Most of the winter months were actually warmer than average. May was a slightly cooler month than average but that is weather not climate. Not only that, it should be noted that it is global warming . The la nina effect is fine if one just looks at N Am.
As for the ice pact, I would suggest looking at the mass of ice and not just the depth of recent snow. Antartica has large areas of land. This is why it's ice pack is more stable but it is not immune increasing temperatures and this shows up in various features.
The well observed zone creep which is described in this study is just another case of cross disciplinary support that global warming is taking place. AGW isn't about CO2, it's about the factors that affect the climate and the information points to CO2 as the causality of recent effects.
Posted by: aym | 14 June 2008 at 08:13 AM