Changing Climate Effects on Extreme Weather Events


June 19, 2008

The U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research today released a scientific assessment that provides the first comprehensive analysis of observed and projected changes in weather and climate extremes in North America and U.S. territories. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change previously evaluated extreme weather and climate events on a global basis in this same context. However, there has not been a specific assessment across North America prior to this report.

Among the major findings reported in this assessment are that droughts, heavy downpours, excessive heat, and intense hurricanes are likely to become more commonplace as humans continue to increase the atmospheric concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

The report is based on scientific evidence that a warming world will be accompanied by changes in the intensity, duration, frequency, and geographic extent of weather and climate extremes.


2 Responses to “Changing Climate Effects on Extreme Weather Events”

  1. Doug Vincent Says:

    The U.S. Climate Change Science Program has released several recent reports in addition to the one cited by NOAA. Among them is “The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity.” You can download this one here: Other reports are available at

  2. Eileen Says:

    Thanks, Doug, for highlighting this report. Hawaii is not discussed separately in any detail except in the biodiversity section of the report. However, there are a few of the general findings that particularly resonated with me:

    • The marketable yield of many horticultural crops – e.g., tomatoes, onions, fruits – is very likely to be more sensitive to climate change than grain and oilseed crops.

    • Many weeds respond more positively to increasing CO2 than most cash crops, particularly C3 “invasive” weeds.

    • Higher temperatures will very likely reduce livestock production during the summer season

    • Shifts in rangeland and pastureland plant productivity and type will likely have a significant impact on livestock operations

    • Corals in many tropical regions are experiencing substantial mortality from increasing water temperatures and increasing storm intensity, on top of a host of other ongoing challenges from development and tourism, increases in ocean acidity, unsustainable fishing, and pollution.

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