Florida and Climate Change

Climate Change

What are the climate change signs in Florida? In Florida one can not see glaciers receding or ice caps melting. There are no dinosaur cemeteries. However we do have scientific evidence of changes.

The Earth's climate has changed throughout history. Just in the last 650,000 years there have been seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat, with the abrupt end of the last ice age about 7,000 years ago marking the beginning of the modern climate era — and of human civilization. Most of these climate changes are attributed to very small variations in Earth’s orbit that change the amount of solar energy our planet receives.

Fancy Graph -  Basically from 1950 - present the atmosphere has more CO2 then ever before.

How does it happen?

The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century. Their ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy through the atmosphere is the scientific basis of many instruments flown by NASA. There is no question that increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause the Earth to warm in response.

Greenhouse gasses - Overview

​What is the difference between Global Warming and Climate Change?

“Global warming” refers to the long-term warming of the planet. Global temperature shows a well-documented rise since the early 20th century and most notably since the late 1970s. Worldwide, since 1880 the average surface temperature has gone up by about 0.8 °C (1.4 °F), relative to the mid-20th-century baseline (of 1951-1980).

“Climate change” encompasses global warming, but refers to the broader range of changes that are happening to our planet. These include rising sea levels, shrinking mountain glaciers, accelerating ice melt in Greenland, Antarctica and the Arctic, and shifts in flower/plant blooming times. These are all consequences of the warming, which is caused mainly by people burning fossil fuels and putting out heat-trapping gases into the air. The terms “global warming” and “climate change” are sometimes used interchangeably, but strictly they refer to slightly different things. Source

Effects

Seal Level Rise

Global sea level rose about 8 inches in the last century. The rate in the last two decades, however, is nearly double that of the last century.

"The city of Miami floods on such a predictable basis that if , out of curiosity or out of sheer perversity, a person want she can plan a visit to coincide with the inundation" Eliszabeth Kolbert The New Yorker

At its root, the flooding is a function of climate change. Warmer temperatures caused by the greenhouse effect cause glaciers to melt, increasing the amount of water in the ocean. Those warmer temperatures also cause the water in the ocean itself to expand, the same way that the surface level of water heated on a stove will rise in a saucepan. Sea levels have risen several inches near Miami since 1960, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Source

Global Temperature Rise

Click on Graphic: Global warming from 1880 to 2016

The planet's average surface temperature has risen about 2.0 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 degrees Celsius) since the late 19th century, a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.5 Most of the warming occurred in the past 35 years, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record occurring since 2001. Not only was 2016 the warmest year on record, but eight of the 12 months that make up the year — from January through September, with the exception of June — were the warmest on record for those respective months.

Effects on Florida

Agriculture

Florida farmers are suffering significant losses this year from diminished harvests of tomatoes, peppers, squash, papaya and strawberries. "Baffling" weather is blamed — high temperatures, high wind and high rainfall totals.

Higher temperatures and high rainfall aren't exactly baffling to climate scientists, who for decades have warned of such outcomes as the planet warms from heat-trapping carbon emissions. El Niño adds to the equation, but doesn’t cause the same level of devastation as El Niño in an era of rising global temperature.

Some politicians, like Marco Rubio, think that policies that encourage energy efficiency and clean energy to cut these emissions would be too expensive and hurt our economy. I ask them to take note of these losses, mirrored all over the country.

In reality, encouraging clean energy development and cutting carbon pollution won't hurt our economy. What will hurt our economy, and cost much more, is unchecked carbon pollution. It is causing and will continue to cause even higher temperatures, accompanied by more severe weather events, unpredictable weather, sea level rise and flooding. Source

Sharmini Pitter

Forests

Forests provide opportunities to reduce future climate change by capturing and storing carbon, as well as by providing resources for bioenergy production (the use of forest-derived plant-based materials for energy production). • Climate change is increasing the vulnerability of forests to ecosystem changes and tree mortality through fire, insect infestations, drought & disease outbreaks. • On public, private & tribal lands, management practices can reduce disturbance effects include: • altering tree planting and harvest strategies through species selection and timing; • factoring in genetic variation; • managing for reduced stand densities, which could reduce wildfire risk; • reducing other stressors such as poor air quality; • using forest management practices to minimize drought stress; and • developing regional networks to mitigate impacts on ecosystem goods and services. Source

Water Supply

Rising seas threatens to pollute Miami's freshwater supply. Miami Beach has a robust plan, nicely outlined by Fusion http://interactive.fusion.net/pumpit/, that includes sea walls, more trees, raised streets and elevated sand dunes — all of which could help block incoming sea water.

Analysis of other coastal areas has not been investigated by the author.

​Southeast Florida At Risk

At risk from sea level rise includes: • 2 nuclear power plants, • 3 state prisons, • 68 hospitals, • 74 airports, • 115 solid waste disposal sites, • 140 water treatment facilities, • 334 public schools, and • 341 hazardous-material cleanup sites, including 5 Superfund sites. Source

What Can I Do

Call you MOC's and request approval of legislation to reduce green house gas emissions.

Each person is responsible for their own contribution to climate change. Legislation can impose restrictions. However it is each persons moral and civic duty to not contribute to climate change.

​Reduce - Reuse - Recycle 

Get the kids involved Click on fun Ideas for all

Climate Change for Kids

Reduce Reuse Recycle

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