Climate Impacts

  • Jacqueline Kozak Thiel, Hawaii's State Sustainability Coordinator, talks about the state's unique sustainability challenges and how the island chain is planning for climate change.

  • In the midst of a drought in 2008, biologists discovered dead Coho and steelhead trout in a tributary of the Russian River. When the dust settled, the focus turned to how winegrowers and other water users could reduce their impact. The event provided the parties involved—winegrowers, conservationists, and the water agency—an opportunity to find common ground in the realm of science.

  • In April 2011, Texas was in the midst of what may have been its worst fire season in history. As the season began, NOAA outlooks and observations helped fire managers think strategically about where their resources could be most effective.

  • Jeanine Jones, Interstate Resources Manager for the California Department of Water Resources, talks about the state's ongoing drought conditions and planning for California's water future.

     

  • It’s only when we “zoom out” to the planet-wide scale that trends in surface temperature are obvious: despite a few, rare areas experiencing cooling, the vast majority of places across the globe are warming.

  • Research oceanographer Jonathan Hare answers questions about the first application of a new protocol for assessing the vulnerability of Northeast fisheries to climate change.

  • The Arkansas Valley is enduring the driest continuous period in Colorado's history of recorded data, recalling conditions the state's southeastern plains experienced during the Dust Bowl.

  • Federal law may protect the river habitat in the name of endangered fish, but on land, grapevines are king. This article is the first in a two-part series about how scientists are helping find compromise amid local tensions over water supplies.

  • In October 2003, a little-known think tank in the Department of Defense quietly released a report warning that climate change could happen so suddenly it could pose a major threat to our country's national security. Why was the Pentagon worried about abrupt climate change? Because new evidence from Greenland showed it had happened before. 

  • The Amazon Rainforest is a living warehouse for carbon dioxide. As climate changes, the lush tropical ecosystems of the Amazon Basin may release more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than they absorb. NOAA scientist John Miller talks about how climate conditions in 2010 and 2011 created a natural experiment on how drought affects the Amazon's carbon balance.

  • Working with private companies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency uses precipitation data from NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center as part of an insurance program for ranchers and those who grow hay or other livestock forage. This video describes how it works.

  • Persistent cold temperatures in the Midwest this winter almost completely frozen over many of the Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) reported that 88 percent of the Great Lakes were frozen as of mid-February.

  • The historic rainfall that flooded the Colorado Front Range in September 2013 did little to dampen drought in the state's southeastern plains.

  • Water resources manager Laura Briefer describes how Salt Lake City’s Department of Public Utilities is using climate information to help plan for the city’s future.

  • January 2014 was remarkably mild across nearly all of Alaska, resulting in this January ranking among the  “top ten” warmest on record for many Alaskan communities according to preliminary analyses.

  • The WestMap climate analysis and mapping toolbox is an interactive, web-based tool that helps users see the climate conditions that underlie droughts, storms, floods, and changes in streamflow.

  • The most populated state in the country is facing what may be its worst drought in a century of record-keeping. On January 20, the governor of California declared a state of emergency, urging everyone to begin conserving water.

  • As climate changes in the Great Lakes region, the popular yellow perch–which some consider the ultimate pan-fried fish–may become much less common, potentially forcing consumers to adopt new traditions.

  • Last month, three NOAA scientists and a colleague from the United Kingdom Met Office were surprised to learn they'd be rubbing shoulders with leading international thinkers on Foreign Policy magazine's annual list of "Top 100 Global Thinkers."

  • October in Alaska this year was more like September, with warmth and rain in place of autumn chill and snow. Wind anomalies related to unusual pressure patterns conspired to bring a steady stream of warm, wet air from southerly latitudes into Alaska.

  • Stunned by Sandy's devastation, the city of New York undertook an ambitious project: to update its long-term sustainability plan using the latest climate science. Their goal was to understand how much sea level could rise, how soon, and just how vulnerable the city would be if some of the more extreme climate change projections turn into reality.

  • Developed by the NOAA Coastal Services Center, the sea level rise viewer offers access to data and information about the risks of sea level rise, storm surge, and flooding along the coastal United States. The Web-based map has the potential to help people build (or rebuild) in a more resilient way.

  • Developed by the NOAA Coastal Services Center, the sea level rise viewer offers access to data and information about the risks of sea level rise, storm surge, and flooding along the coastal United States. The Web-based map has the potential to help business owners and community planners build (or rebuild) in a more resilient way.

  • (VIDEO) Within months of its opening, Ivar Johnson's restaurant on Panini Bay was devastated by Sandy. As he and his family rebuilt their dream, he talked with scientist Lisa Auermiller about how to face the future rise in sea level that would accompany global warming.

  • At various locations on New Jersey's Barnegat Bay Island, Norb Psuty talks with Climate.gov about how humans' desire for permanence on barrier islands is at odds with natural processes. But preserving or restoring key dune and beach features can help communities weather some storms.

  • (VIDEO) For many New Jersey residents and businesses, "resilience" means recovering from storms like last fall's Sandy. Lisa Auermiller with the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve talks about the factors that spur people to take a longer-term view.

  • Tampa Bay Water provides safe, potable drinking water to 2.3 million people in the Tampa Bay region.  But future availability of surface water can be hard to predict, and drought is a recurring challenge there.  The water utility managers are increasingly using seasonal climate forecasts to track climate variability, which helps them better plan their water supply and reduce their vulnerability to seasonal climate impacts.

  • NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center (CPC) has issued its 2013 Atlantic hurricane seasonal outlook. In this video, Gerry Bell, a NOAA CPC meteorologist, explains that as of May 23, 2013, the outlook favors an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season from June 1 through November 30.

  • During late winter, Texas, Oklahoma, and Kansas received sorely needed rain which helped reduce short-term impacts, like wildfire and dry topsoil. But as Deke Arndt explains, it has taken months to develop deep and severe drought in the region, and a few wet weeks won't erase that situation. It can take months of ideal conditions to bring soil, rivers, and vegetation back to health.

  • On any given day or any given month, somebody somewhere– maybe even where you live– experiences colder-than-average temperature, even though the globe as a whole is warmer than average.

  • Much colder-than-average temperature during March and a strongly negative Arctic Oscillation Index reminded people in the United States how important this index is to our own climate conditions.

  • NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center released its Spring Outlook on March 21. The big story for the upcoming spring? Relief for many drought-stricken areas of the United States is not likely.

  • The Spring Outlook encompasses temperature, precipitation, drought, and flooding expectations for the coming three months, and Mike Halpert, Acting Director of the Climate Prediction Center, discusses the outlook and its implications.
     

  • Deke Arndt, Chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch, at the National Climatic Data Center talks about the influence of La Niña on the 2011 global average temperature. 

  • It’s natural to associate drought with heat and with summer, but drought also impacts us during winter months. Winter wheat yields are declining, and the Mississippi River is approaching an all-time low. Understanding drought conditions and how they are affecting us is part of being “climate smart.”
     

  • It may seem remote from our everyday lives, but the Arctic exerts a powerful influence on the rest of the planet. From rising sea level, to U.S. and European weather, to bird migrations, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco describes how Arctic climate change can influence the rest of the planet.

  • NOAA released the 2012 installment of the annual Arctic Report Card on December 5, 2012, as part of the American Geophysical Union's fall meeting. This image collection is a gallery of highlights based on the report's major themes. It was developed by the NOAA Climate.gov team in cooperation with Arctic Report Card authors and other Arctic experts.

  • At the edge of southern Louisiana sits Port Fourchon—the hub through which 20 percent of our nation’s oil and gas supplies are distributed to the rest of the country. The only road leading to and from this major port is the Louisana-1 Highway. A drive down the LA-1 through a vulnerable but vibrant coastal landscape shows what is at stake if ‘America’s longest main street’ fails to stay above water.

  • Pecan and chili growers along the Lower Rio Grande can tap groundwater during droughts, but the aquifer water is salty and harmful to the soil over the long term.

  • After 16 consecutive months with warmer-than-normal conditions, the U.S. is headed for its warmest year on record.

     

  • We can’t immediately link Hurricane Sandy itself to climate change, says climate scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig, but the flooding damage we can. Partly due to global warming, sea level has climbed about a foot in the NYC area over the past century, giving storm surges a “step up” along the coast.

  • Boy eating a peanut butter sandwich

    The average U.S. citizen consumes around 3.5 pounds of peanut butter a year. Will global warming make climate conditions less peanut-friendly in the U.S.?

  • On the Rio Grande—historically the wellspring for more than five million people in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, and Mexico—coping with scarcity has become a reality, and water management and use in the region may be a leading example of how to adapt to drier times

  • In the wake of historic flooding along the Missouri River in spring and summer 2011, NOAA scientists are exploring how climate patterns like La Niña and others can set the stage for floods or drought in the Northern Rockies and the Upper Great Plains.

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    In a place routinely afflicted by drought, water managers in Tampa Bay use climate forecasts to ensure a water supply to people’s taps without sucking the region’s rivers, wetlands, and groundwater dry. The limits of their innovation might be tested in a future which could pose even more challenges to ensuring the oasis remains green.

     

  • Deke Arndt of NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center reports that heavy rains from Hurricane Isaac in late August fell too late–and mostly in the wrong places–to provide much relief from U.S. drought.

  • India's monsoon rains finally arrived in August—two months late—and vegetation conditions showed some improvement.

  • Imagine heat waves like the one last July coming more often & lasting longer: that’s the projection from climate models for the middle of this century based on one future emissions path.

  • The rainy season in India arrived late and delivered far less precipitation than usual in summer 2012, leading to severe drought across large parts of the country.

  • Since the mid-1950s, easy-to-serve, portion-controlled fish sticks have regularly found their way onto U.S. dinner tables and into school lunches. The past decade, however, has given fishermen and scientists a preview of the challenges they may face in keeping fish sticks on the menu as the planet gets warmer.

  • Spring storms across Europe and the Mediterranean Sea finally swept away a high pressure system that had been fostering increasingly dry conditions over the Horn of Africa in early 2011.

  • Deke Arndt, Chief of the Climate Monitoring Branch at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center talks about the unusual heat in May 2012.

  • NOAA scientists have documented a new impact of the increasingly thin blanket of Arctic sea ice: gases escaping from the thinner ice in spring are affecting air chemistry, reducing ground-level ozone, and likely increasing mercury contamination.

  • Since the beginning of 2012, drought conditions have worsened along the eastern seaboard, adding to a dry picture for much of the United States.

  • From poor soil to scorching summer heat, farmers in the U.S. Southeast face some significant challenges. Two Southeast growers are looking to seasonal climate forecasts to give them an edge.

  • Climate scientist Anthony Janetos makes it clear that climate change isn't some future abstraction: real and substantial impacts on people's lives, the economy, the environment, and our valuable natural resources are already happening here in the United States.

     

  • Humans currently release about 70 million tons of carbon dioxide every day into the atmosphere and about 20 million tons is being absorbed regularly by the oceans, causing the pH to drop.  Chris Sabine describes current and projected future impacts of this acidification on marine ecology.

  • Claudia Mengelt and Robert Fri talk about strategies for adapting to and reducing global climate change.

  • The ongoing drought of 2011-2012 has been front and center for people in the southern United States, including the southwestern United States. Dave Brown, Director of Climate Services for the Southern Region through NOAA's National Climatic Data Center, speaks about the causes, impacts, and outlook for this widepread climate event.

  • Felix Kogan talks about using satellites to observe and forecast the climate conditions that lead to mosquito–and malaria–outbreaks.
     

  • Jake Crouch of the National Climatic Data Center recaps the temperature patterns of 2011, emphasizing the much greater than average warmth across Arctic latitudes and the influence of La Niña in the tropical Pacific.

  • This year’s Arctic Report Card emphasizes that climate change is more prominent in the Arctic than at lower latitudes.

  • The Arctic of recent years—warmer, greener, less icy—is likely to be the new normal for the Far North. One sign of the ongoing transformation of the Arctic is the spread of shrubs across the tundra.

  • Phytoplankton productivity has increased 20 percent over the past decade as sea ice extent declines and more open water habitat is available.

  • This animation of photo-like satellite images documens the extreme variability of surface melt on part of the Greenland Ice Sheet in the past decade.

  • During spring 2011, the Northern Great Plains experienced record flooding. This video explains how a La Niña climate pattern helped set the stage for this extreme event.

  • Doug Kluck, Central Region Climate Services Director, and Kevin Low, Missouri Basin River Forecast Center Hydrologist, share their perspectives about NOAA's involvement in responding to the Missouri River floods of 2011.

  • In the mid-1980s, the winter sea ice pack in the Arctic was dominated by multi-year ice—ice that had survived at least one summer melt. Today, less than half of the sea ice at winter maximum has survived at least one summer.

  • The low ice extent recorded this September continued the downward trend seen over the last 30 years. Meanwhile, scientists are finding that the ice cover has grown thinner, making it more vulnerable to melting during the summer.

  • Brazos River in drought stage

    An intense drought has gripped the southern tier of the United States for several months, accompanied by destructive wildfires, low water supplies, and failed crops.

  • An expert on climate conditions and food security explains why some parts of East Africa are so vulnerable to climate shocks like the ongoing drought.

  • An expert on climate conditions in East Africa describes the climate factors behind the 2011 drought, which has contributed to food insecurity and famine.

  • From drought in the Amazon to Australia's record spring rains, this interactive map highlights significant regional climate events in 2010 that were influenced by El Niño and La Niña.

  • Starting in July, when you hear that a day was hotter, or colder, or rainier than normal, that normal will be a little different from what it was in the past.

  • The tornado outbreak across the southern United States in late April 2011 was deadly, devastating, and record breaking. NOAA's "CSI" team is investigating the possible connections between global warming, natural climate patterns, and tornadoes.

  • Arctic sea ice extent for the month of March was the second lowest in the satellite record. Ice cover at winter maximum continues to be dominated by young, thin ice.

  • globes showing pressure patterns during positive and negative phases of the Arctic Oscillation

    Large-scale shifting of the weight of the atmosphere between mid- and high latitudes creates climate patterns known as the Arctic and North Atlantic Oscillations. These patterns have a big influence on winter weather in the Eastern U.S.

  • The arrival of Hurricane Isabel in 2003 flooded the retirement home of a Chesapeake Bay couple. With sea level around the Chesapeake Bay rising faster than the global average, how are coastal residents planning for change?

  • El Niño and La Niña can significantly alter seasonal climate conditions, such as temperature and rainfall patterns, in many parts of the world. Scientists Brad Lyon and Paul Block explain the potential impacts of La Niña in different parts of Africa.

  • More than half of the United States experienced heat, drought, or flooding during 2011, demonstrating the power and momentum of climate extremes.

  • Few winter storms and El Niño conditions brought severe drought conditions to the Hawaiian Islands this past year.

  • Weather in the Southeast this fall and winter is keeping up with the dry part of the typical La Niña pattern. Precipitation across most of the Southeast was "below" or "much below" normal for October-December.

  • Mark Eakin, a coral reef specialist and Coordinator of NOAA’s Coral ReefWatch program, discusses coral bleaching in the Caribbean in 2010.

  • Facing the possibility of a massive coral bleaching event in the Caribbean Sea in late summer and early fall 2010, a USGS biologist based at U.S. Virgin Islands National Park hopes that the season won't have the same devastating outcome as a similar event in 2005.

  • This report presents a comprehensive appraisal of Earth’s climate in 2009, and establishes the last decade as the warmest on record. Reduced extent of Arctic sea ice, glacier volume, and snow cover reflect the effects of rising global temperature.
     

  • The impacts of climate change and sea level rise have the potential to contaminate facilities and natural resources in the Pacific Northwest. Now, coastal managers have a new tool to help them visualize future changes and decide how they might avoid these problems.

  • How is climate change affecting bird migration patterns? Birdwatchers across the country and around the world are contributing their time, both in the field and online, to answer that question.

  • Six managers of State Coastal Zone Programs and National Estuarine Research Reserves comment on their plans for adapting to climate change.

  • Curiosity is a cruel master, says Dave Bertelsen. Over the past 25 years, he has hiked over 12,000 miles through a desert canyon, just to see what was blooming. He found a few surprises along the way.

  • NOAA's Climate Scene Investigators analyzed why the mid-Atlantic region had record-setting snowstorms this winter. The team looked for but found no human "fingerprints" on the severe weather. Instead, they fingered two naturally occurring climate patterns as co-conspirators in the case.

  • We can have record-setting blizzards and global warming at the same time. NOAA scientists explain climate variability, how it influenced our weather this winter, and how it differs from climate change.

  • Richard Feely discusses new findings about how increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is making the oceans more acidic, and how that will affect ocean ecosystems and the marine animals that inhabit them.
     

  • Almost two months after a devastating earthquake rocked Haiti, nearly half a million people there are displaced from their homes, and a million more are living without proper shelter. What climate-related risks will they face in the coming months?

  • The International Research Institute for Climate and Society and Google are offering a guided tour of Africa to explain the connections between climate and deadly meningitis outbreaks.

  • In the summer of 2007, as oyster growers and hatchery managers in Washington state were experiencing yet another failed oyster harvest, Dr. Richard Feely set off on a research cruise to find out if the seawater itself was the culprit…

  • For years, people have been pointing to El Niño as the culprit behind floods, droughts, famines, economic failures, and record-breaking global heat. Can a single climate phenomenon really cause all these events? Is the world just a step away from disaster when El Niño conditions develop?

  • Flooding in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

    In NOAA's version of CSI, Marty Hoerling leads a group of climate and weather researchers who investigate killer climate patterns—heat waves, tornadoes, and floods—to figure out what may have triggered them.

  • “If the sea level goes up two or three feet along the coast of Maine in this century, that’s a very significant change.”
     

  • “The fact is scientists really can’t predict at this time what the impacts will be on any particular species.”

     

  • Rhode Island's coasts are already feeling the impacts of rising seas. The Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council and Rhode Island Sea Grant are working with the legislature to explicitly address sea level rise and climate change in the state's building code.

  • In May and June each year, speculation about the coming of the monsoon fills newspapers and conversations across India. Everyone is concerned about if, when, and how much rain will arrive. But none have more at stake than India’s over 100 million farming households.

  • Richard Feely discusses new findings about how increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is making the oceans more acidic, and how that will affect ocean ecosystems and the marine animals that inhabit them.
     

  • Richard Feely discusses new findings about how increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is making the oceans more acidic, and how that will affect ocean ecosystems and the marine animals that inhabit them.
     

  • The total amount of water on Earth isn’t increasing, but the volume of liquid that fills the ocean is growing as ice and snow on land melt. The water is also getting warmer, which makes it expand. 

  • Minimum sea ice extent observed by satellites each September has decreased by 13.7 percent per decade since the late 1970s. The seven lowest extents all occurred since 2007.