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Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) Volume II

A new federal report finds that climate change is affecting the natural environment, agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, and human health and welfare across the U.S. and its territories.

Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4), released by the United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), focuses on climate change impacts, risks and adaptations occurring in the U.S.

The report contains supporting evidence from 16 national-level topic chapters (e.g., water, oceans, energy, and human health), 10 regional chapters and two chapters that focus on societal responses to climate change. USGCRP also released the Second State of the Carbon Cycle Report (SOCCR2).

NOAA is one of 13 federal agencies that contributed significantly to the Fourth National Climate Assessment.

Key findings of the NCA4, Vol. II:

Communities

Human health and safety, our quality of life, and the rate of economic growth in communities across the U.S. are increasingly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.

The cascading impacts of climate change threaten the natural, built and social systems we rely on, both within and beyond the nation’s borders.

Societal efforts to respond to climate change have expanded in the last five years, but not at the scale needed to avoid substantial damages to the economy, environment, and human health over the coming decades.

Without substantial and sustained global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and regional initiatives to prepare for anticipated changes, climate change is expected to cause growing losses to American infrastructure and property and impede the rate of economic growth over this century.

Agriculture and food production

Rising temperatures, extreme heat, drought, wildfire on rangelands and heavy downpours are expected to increasingly challenge the quality and quantity of U.S. crop yields, livestock health, price stability and rural livelihoods.
Ecosystems

Continued changes to Earth’s climate will cause major disruptions in some ecosystems. Some coral reef and sea ice ecosystems are already experiencing transformational changes, affecting communities and economies that rely upon them.

Water and the coasts

Changes in the quality and quantity of fresh water available for people and the environment  are increasing risks and costs to agriculture, energy production, industry and recreation.

Climate change will transform coastal regions by the latter part of this century, with ripple effects on other regions and sectors. Many communities should expect higher costs and lower property values from sea level rise.

Health

Climate change threatens the health and well-being of the American people by causing increasing extreme weather, changes to air quality, the spread of new diseases by insects and pests, and changes to the availability of food and water.

To access the report and find background information, please visit the USGCRP website: https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/

source: NOAA

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

2017 Atlantic Hurricanes - Tropical Storms

Hurricane Harvey landfall    photo credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project

North America's 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has included a number of record setting storms.

NOAA's 2017 hurricane season outlook August update called for a 60-percent chance of an above-normal season, with 14-19 named storms, 5-9 hurricanes, and 2-5 major hurricanes.

Hurricane Harvey made landfall on the night of Friday, August 25th near Rockport, Texas, as a Category 4 storm, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Rainfall from Hurricane Harvey exceeded 51 inches in some areas, setting a preliminary record for the greatest amount of measured single-storm rainfall for the continental US.

In early September, Hurricane Irma, a powerful category 5 storm churned across the Atlantic and Caribbean, and continental U.S.

The storm made landfall on September 10th in the Florida Keys as a category four storm.

Hurricane Irma caused severe damage in Barbuda, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin, Anguilla, the Virgin Islands (British and U.S.), and Florida (USA).

Hurricane Jose (Category 4) affected the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, The Bahamas, Bermuda, and the East Coast of the United States.

On September 8, Hurricane Katia (Category 1) made landfall near Tecolutla, Mexico.

Another storm, Maria, reached Hurricane status On September 17, 2017. Over the next 24 hours, Maria intensified explosively into a Category 5 hurricane.

On September 20th, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico as a strong category 4 hurricane, with winds of 155 mph that knocked out power for the entire island.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Jaguars in North America

Jaguar (photo credit: USFWS)

An iconic species, the jaguar is North America's largest cat.

Although jaguars have been exterminated in much of their historical range, a recovery is possible, according to a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) - binational Jaguar Recovery Team draft jaguar recovery plan.

The draft plan sets goals for improving the species’ status through its entire 19-country range and provides a framework for achieving recovery.

The draft plan focuses on the cat’s northwestern population in Mexico and the southwestern United States.

The jaguar recovery plan will allow agencies and organizations, particularly in the U.S. and Mexico, to align their efforts to make meaningful advances in sustaining and improving the status of this iconic species.

USA Jaguars

Since 1996, as many as seven individual jaguars have been documented in the U.S.

Jaguar sightings in the USA have consisted of male jaguars in southern Arizona and southwestern New Mexico.

These jaguars are believed to be coming from the nearest core area and breeding population, which is approximately 130 miles south of the U.S.-Mexico border in Sonora.

Jaguar re-introductions in the USA are not planned for the short term. Instead, the plan focuses on efforts to sustain habitat, eliminate poaching, and improve social acceptance of the jaguar to accommodate jaguars that disperse into the U.S.

Long Term Jaguar Recovery

The plan cites habitat loss, direct killing of jaguars, and depletion of prey as primary factors contributing to the jaguar’s current status and decreasing population trend.

The plan calls for a minimum timespan of 50 years to achieve a jaguar recovery in North America.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Black Elk Peak - South Dakota

Black Elk Peak - Black Hills National Forest

The highest peak east of the Rocky Mountains will now be called Black Elk Peak on federal maps.  Located in South Dakota, the summit had been labeled Harney Peak on federal maps since 1896.

The feature is located in the Black Elk Wilderness of Black Hills National Forest in Pennington County in southwestern South Dakota.

The name change was approved August by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names (BGN). The name Black Elk Peak was formally proposed to the BGN in October 2014.

The BGN sought opinions from the U.S. Forest Service and the South Dakota Board on Geographic Names (SDBGN), which in turn sought opinions from the county government, numerous local, State, and Tribal organizations, and the general public.

The new name is now considered official for use in federal maps and publications. State and local governments as well as commercial entities generally follow the federal use of geographic names.

photo credit: Gary Chancey - Black Hills National Forest

source: U.S. Geological Survey