Climate change is impacting California - report

2013-08-08 15:34

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Los Angeles – Coastal waters off California are getting more acidic. Fall-run chinook salmon populations to the Sacramento River are on the decline. Conifer forests on the lower slopes of the Sierra Nevada have moved to higher elevations over the past half century.

That's just a snapshot of how climate change is affecting California's natural resources, a report released on Thursday found.

"There's certainly reason for concern," said Dan Cayan, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography who contributed to the report.

The findings are an update to a 2009 report that documented how a warming California is impacting the environment, wildlife and people.

Among the known impacts: Butterflies in the Central Valley are emerging from hiding earlier in the spring; glaciers in the Sierra Nevada have shrunk; and spring run-off from snowmelt has declined, affecting Central Valley farmers and hydroelectric plants that rely on snowmelt to produce power.

The latest 258-page report, which cost $282 000 to produce, was compiled from existing climate studies and released by an arm of the California Environmental Protection Agency.

Officials hope it will spur the state and local governments to plan ahead and adapt to a hotter future.

Monitoring should continue "to reduce the impacts of climate change and to prepare for those effects that we cannot avoid," George Alexeeff, head of the state Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, said in an e-mail.

Annual average temperatures across the state have risen by about 0.8°C since 1895, with the greatest warming seen in portions of the Central Valley and Southern California.

Levels of carbon dioxide, methane and other heat-trapping gases in the state increased between 1990 and 2011. In recent years, there has been a slight drop — the result of industries and vehicles becoming more energy efficient, the report said.

Some of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is being absorbed by the ocean, altering its chemistry. Scientists have documented changes to waters at Monterey Bay, which have turned more acidic in recent years, raising concerns about impact to marine life.

Ocean warming, among other factors, may be behind the dramatic drop of chinook salmon in Central California since 2004. And certain plant and animals species - such as conifers in the Sierra Nevada and small mammals in Yosemite National Park - have responded to a changing climate by moving to higher ground.

Expect more heat waves, wildfires and higher sea levels as the state warms, the report said.

The report "vastly overstates the impacts of greenhouse gases," said University of Alabama at Huntsville atmospheric sciences professor John Christy, who holds a minority view among climate scientists.

Carnegie Institution ecologist Chris Field, an acknowledged leader in the field of climate impacts, said the observations in the report "are more or less the gold standard of where we are now today" and provide a peek of the future.
- AP
Read more on:    us  |  climate change
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

Every man should be able to do these three things

They might seem basic, but can you do these three things?

 
 

Men24.com

Goalkeeper saves five penalties with his FACE!
Hottie of the day: Jesselyn
This invention makes farts smell like chocolate!
11 things men don’t know about their clothes

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

24 hour sale – Up to 70% off

Its black Friday, save up to 70% on a wide range of awesome products at kalahari.com. Offers valid while stocks last. T&C’s apply. Shop now!

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Grandiose ideas and plans can trip you up today. Keep things in context and take one step at a time....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.