The indicators highlighted in a new report show that climate change is occurring throughout California, from the Pacific Coast to the Central Valley to the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Impacts of a warmer climate include decreasing spring snowmelt runoff, rising sea levels along the California coast, shrinking glaciers, increasing wildfires, warming lakes and ocean waters, and the gradual migration of many plants and animals to higher elevations.
Key findings of the report include:
Temperatures: The state's high, low and average temperatures are all rising, and extreme heat events also have increased in duration and frequency. The rate of warming has accelerated since the mid-1970s, and night time (minimum) temperatures have increased almost twice as fast as maximum (daytime) temperatures.
Wildfires: The number of acres burned by wildfires has been increasing since 1950. The size, severity, duration and frequency of wildfires are greatly influenced by climate. The three largest fire years on record in California occurred in the last decade, and annual acreage burned since 2000 is almost twice that for the 1950-2000 period.
Water: Spring snowmelt runoff has decreased, indicating warmer winter temperatures and more precipitation falling as rain rather than snow. Earlier and decreased runoff can reduce water supplies, even when overall rainfall remains the same. This trend could mean less water available for agriculture, the environment and a growing population.
Coast and Ocean: A number of indicators reflect physical and biological changes in the ocean, impacting a range of marine species, including sea lions, seabirds and salmon. And data for Monterey Bay shows increased carbon dioxide levels in coastal waters, which can harm shell-forming organisms and have impacts throughout the marine food chain.
Additionally, the report stresses how California is suffering an extreme water shortage that will lead to 20% of Californians not having sufficient drinking water by 2019.
Fracking. You see, we need to use 100s of millions of tons of fresh water to loosen up shale that will lead to the release of natural gas, especially in Monterey Bay.
Fracking will increase jobs for the state. Yes, some will die from the release of carbon dioxide into the air and the toxic poisoning of ground water in the region. But scientists have found they can pipe excess carbon dioxide to needy countries such as Bangladesh.
Another option is to start a new world war. More jobs in the military industrial complex, and hundreds of thousands of American youth can find employment in our military forces. There's the pesky matter of veterans' benefit -- always, always at taxpayer expense -- but a high mortality rate might offset any tsunami of unsustainables that might otherwise result.
I've discussed this matter with members of my church, and we are all agreed. Further, I was a sociology major.
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