Climate Change CdA
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“If you really think that the environment is less important than the economy, try holding your breath while you count your money.” — Guy McPherson
Climate Action CdA
“I’m often asked whether I believe in global warming. I now just reply with the question: Do you believe in gravity?” — Neil deGrasse Tyson
Temperatures Are Rising
With heat-trapping gas emissions continuing to increase, researchers expect the average annual temperature to increase by 3.3°F to 9.7°F in the next 60-80 years. But the temperatures are already warm enough now to experience something called “Snow Drought” which will have big impacts on North Idaho’s communities.
“This is not a partisan debate; it is a human one. Clean air and water, and a livable climate are inalienable human rights. And solving this crisis is not a question of politics. It is our moral obligation.” — Leonardo DiCaprio
Impacts of Climate Change
Increased Incidents of Wildfire: Since 1986: The western fire season has been 78 days longer, that’s 4 times the increase in Fires, which is >1000 acres, and six times the increase in acres burned. In 2015 more than 51,000 acres burned in the Idaho Panhandle National Forest….that’s more than the last 46 years combined. Increased wildfire leads to closures of our public lands and unhealthy levels of air pollution.
Snow Drought: 70% of the water in western mountain regions comes from snowpack. Warmer winters mean that the snow isn’t collecting on mountains and, what does, is melting off the mountains earlier, depressing water supplies downstream and causing wildlife and fisheries to suffer.
Conservative estimates predict mountain snowpack will decline 25% (of its average) in the 2020s, by a third in the 2040s, and by approximately half toward the end of the century.
- Many ski areas will be left struggling as winter precipitation falls as rain.
- Salmon will have a tough time migrating through warm rivers.
- Farmers will have to adjust the crops they grow.
- Wet-communities will have to conserve water.
Warmer Waters: Hotter temperatures and less snow runoff have led to unseasonably high water temperatures. Lake Cocolalla was 80 degrees in July 2015. More lakes, including Hayden Lake, Lake Coeur d’Alene, and Lake Pend O’reille, were in the 70s.
Hot water stresses fish, spurs plant growth, and depletes oxygen levels. Lake Coeur d’Alene’s shallow south end went “anoxic” in June 2015, meaning there is no oxygen at the lake’s most profound levels. That was the earliest occurrence on record, said Laura Lamatia, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s Lake management plan coordinator.
The lack of oxygen creates conditions where nutrients and heavy metals (like lead, zinc, arsenic, mercury) in Lake sediments can become re-suspended in the water. With a century of mining waste at the bottom of the lake, the early oxygen depletion is a concern, with four straight months of anoxia before cold fall temperatures cool the lake and mix its layers.
Aquatic weeds also flourish in warmer waters. The growth of invasive milfoil was several weeks ahead of schedule in July 2015, and blooms of blue-green algae caused health advisories for Fernan and Avondale lakes and part of Hayden Lake. Blue-green algae blooms can produce toxins that sicken people and pets. Ingesting the toxins can cause breathing trouble and liver damage.
- Adaptation: Researchers project that climate change will also impact the subalpine species of trees that define the Inland Northwest, ultimately shifting the diversity and makeup of our forests to deciduous.
Current Climate News
The Amazon rainforest is an ecological marvel. It's twice the size of India, according to the World Wildlife Fund, and it's the largest remaining tropical rainforest in the world. It's home to at least 10% of the world's biodiversity, produces 20% of the world's...
The sheer scale of this new production dwarfs that of every other country in the world and would spell disaster for the world’s ambitions to curb climate change – the effects of which we’re already witnessing through massive heatwaves, flooding, and extreme weather....
The global land and ocean surface temperature departure from average for July 2019 was the highest for the month of July, making it the warmest month overall in the 140-year NOAA global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880. The year-to-date temperature...
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