State News
Effects Of Climate Change Growing Drastically
By Alex Mazariegos
Aug 13, 2013 - 4:10:42 PM

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Conceptual map of climate change. Courtesy of Cal/EPA.

CALIFORNIA—State environmental organizations have released the findings of a comprehensive report on the effects of climate change on the state on August 8, stressing the drastic growth of alterations to the state's environment.

 

In a joint press release, the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) and the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal/EPA) wrote that “climate change is having a significant and measurable impact on California's environment.” The over 200 page report, titled “Indicators of Climate Change in California,” compiled the findings of extensive studies on changes to the state's climate and its causes and effects on the state's environment. State environmental agencies say the report is helpful in demonstrating the fragile and evolving interrelationship between the state's climate and environment, and it further illustrates the strong commitment in addressing environmental threats pledged by Governor Brown and numerous global scientists, exemplified by the consensus statement signed by the aforementioned parties in May.

 

Among the findings are increasing rates of climate warming, which is attributed to higher levels of temperature across the state's measuring spectrum. For example, low temperatures have increased almost twice as fast as high temperatures. Furthermore, seasonal heat has incrementally increased in duration and frequency, and winters now face a decreasing “winter chill” trend, which drastically affects fruit production.

 

The growing temperature change is also gradually affecting the number of wildfires in the state. According to the report, the last 10 years bore witness to the three largest fire years on record in California. As glacier shrinkage occurs in parts of the state, oftentimes ranging from a 20 to 70 percent loss, sea levels along the California coast have risen on average by seven inches. These factors and others have not only altered the habitat foundations of certain species, forcing some to migrate, but also contributed greatly to environmental harms not present before to species.

 

The state agencies reflect on the current state of California initiatives and climate politics, and they concede that significant strives against climate change have been made by the state. At times climate change and its effects eclipse state endeavors to address the issues presented by these changes. “The combined impact described by these indicators is dramatic,” said Cal/EPA Secretary Matthew Rodriquez in the press release. “This report underscores the need for California to continue to lead the fight against global warming and protect both our environment and our economy for future generations.”

 

Individuals interested in reading the report may gain access to it at http://oehha.ca.gov/multimedia/epic/pdf/ClimateChangeIndicatorsReport2013.pdf.



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