Tuesday, June 07, 2022

Climate has changed most in the West, the North and Florida; state-by-state figures may indicate local examples

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data; Axios map, adapted by The Rural Blog

"Climate change is often cast as a global issue. But in reality, it's already affecting each of us in our backyards," write Andrew Freedman and Michael Graff of Axios. "The more people see the impact on their own lives, the more likely it is that they'll look for things they can do about it — from the candidates and policies they support to the personal changes they can make." Washington state just hired its first climate epidemiologist, Crosscut reports. Meanwhile, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere broke a record in May, The New York Times reports.

Local climate impacts include weather problems of farmers and "the fire ant and its march through North Carolina," Axios reports. "The non-native species with the unforgettable sting was first discovered in Brunswick County, North Carolina, in the farthest southeastern corner of the state along the South Carolina line, in the 1950s, about 20 years after it arrived in the U.S. from South America. Now 78 of North Carolina's 100 counties are under fire ant quarantine area designations, according to a North Carolina Agriculture report from January. The fire ants aren't migrating simply because the temperature is warming farther inland. They also float as colonies around their queen, hitching rides inland on floods from more frequent and intense rainfall events."

Some effects aren't quite so apparent, until they are. "Climate change unfolds in the margins day to day until it becomes impossible to avoid," Graff and Freedman write. "Perhaps one morning you realize the place you live experiences totally different weather conditions than when you first arrived there, or that your community has seen three so-called 100-year floods in the past two years. . . . Heavy precipitation events have become more frequent across the country, especially in the Midwest and Northeast. When Climate Central studied rainfall at 150 U.S. weather stations, it found that hourly rainfall intensity has increased since 1970 at 90 percent of them."

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