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Midwest to feel the heat of global warming

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Global warming is likely to have significant effect on the Great Lakes. Photo courtesy NASA Earth Observatory.

Climate change stresses likely to cut agricultural output from the nation’s breadbasket

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — The Midwest could be among the regions hit hardest by climate change, according to a trio of University of Michigan researchers who authored sections of the recent national climate assessment.

The region is likely to face frequent and more intense heat waves, water quality degradation and public health threats, with increasing risks to Great Lakes ecosystems.

“Climate change impacts in the Midwest are expected to be as diverse as the landscape itself. Impacts are already being felt in the forests, in agriculture, in the Great Lakes and in our urban centers,” said University of Michigan aquatic ecologist Donald Scavia, director of the Graham Sustainability Institute and special counsel to the U-M president on sustainability issues.

In the Midwest, extreme rainfall events and floods have become more common over the last century, and those trends are expected to continue, causing erosion, declining water quality and negative impacts on transportation, agriculture, human health and infrastructure, according to the report, which is open for public comment.

Climate change will likely worsen a host of existing problems in the Great Lakes, including changes in the range and distribution of important commercial and recreational fish species, increases in invasive species, declining beach health, and more frequent harmful algae blooms. However, declines in ice cover on the Great Lakes may lengthen the commercial shipping season.

The rate of warming in the Midwest has accelerated over the past few decades, according to the report. Between 1900 and 2010, the average Midwest air temperature increased by more than 1 degree Fahrenheit. However, between 1950 and 2010, the average temperature increased twice as quickly, and between 1980 and 2010 it increased three times as quickly.

The warming has been more rapid at night and during the winter. The trends are consistent with the projected effects of increased concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide released by the burning of fossil fuels.

Projections for regionally averaged temperature increases by the middle of the century, relative to 1979-2000, are approximately 3.8 degrees Fahrenheit for a scenario with substantial emissions reductions and 4.9 degrees for the current high-emissions scenario. Projections for the end of the century in the Midwest are about 5.6 degrees for the low-emissions scenario and 8.5 degrees for the high-emissions scenario, according to the report.

In agriculture, longer growing seasons and rising carbon dioxide levels are likely to increase the yields of some Midwest crops over the next few decades, according to the report, though those gains will be increasingly offset by the more frequent occurrence of heat waves, droughts and floods. In the long term, combined stresses associated with climate change are expected to decrease agricultural productivity in the Midwest.

The composition of the region’s forests is expected to change as rising temperatures drive habitats for many tree species northward. Many iconic tree species such as paper birch, quaking aspen, balsam fir and black spruce are projected to shift out of the United States into Canada.

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2 Responses

  1. The Facts Concerning Global Warming and or Climate Change “CRISIS”.
    1-If you think a little “climate” crisis is even possible, read no further because your Reefer Madness like belief in a little tiny catastrophic crisis of climate is just blind faith in your scripture of chosen headlines. Only a comet hit could be worse than a planetary crisis of climate. And spare us the; “We must be doing something to our planet.”
    2-It’s been 27 years of intensive research into the effects of climate change and almost never into the causes of climate change. Prove me wrong.
    3-Former believers and remaining believers agree that; “All of science is in total agreement that climate change is real and is happening and could cause irreversible extreme weather events or to complete unstoppable warming of the planet’s atmosphere.” Yet not one single IPCC report of climate change crisis has ever been issued without being qualified with; “could” as in above and “might” and “potentially” and …….. Prove me wrong.
    4-Science has never said it WILL happen, only might happen. Prove me wrong. Only lazy copy and paste journalists and politicians have ever said it “WILL” happen. Science has never said it. How close to the edge of no return will the priests of climate blame take us before they actually say it “will” happen, not just “might” happen?
    5-If climate change is going to happen, why are the millions and millions of good and honest people in the global scientific community not acting like their children were doomed as well to the greenhouse gas ovens of a climate crisis hell on Earth? Deny this; A crisis that isn’t a crisis, isn’t a crisis.
    6-Support for stopping the planet from boiling has vanished:
    *Occupywallstreet does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands because of the bank-funded carbon trading stock markets ruled by corporations and trustworthy politicians
    *Canada killed Y2Kyoto with a freely elected climate change denying prime minister and nobody cared, especially the millions of scientists warning us of unstoppable warming (a comet hit).
    *Obama has not mentioned the crisis in the last two State of the Unions addresses.
    *In all of the debates Obama hadn’t planned to mention climate change once.
    -Science gave us pesticides and they are more political than politicians. These lab coat consultants are not saints, they are guilty of war crimes for threatening the billions of people on the planet with a death by CO2, …………………………..“maybe”.
    .7-The real issue isn’t climate change any longer, it’s about belief in science. Belief is faith. Reason is knowledge.

    • Nut (aka mememine, etc.), this is a troll test. If you are not a troll, post the answer to this question: “Are aliens engaged in an elaborate hoax where they are fooling laboratory instruments and pyrgeometers into providing support for the theory that CO2 absorbs/emits in the thermal infrared range?”

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