Personal Narrative: Climate change in my Life (Hints)

Your narrative focuses on how human modification of the global carbon cycle impacted your life. Your writing will inform the newspaper readers (and me) about what you know of the global carbon cycle. I am not asking you to predict the climate in 100 years. Those predictions are available. I have gathered some of the latest predictions below. The public tends not to question researchers announcing new medical treatments, the latest electronic technology, discoveries in outer space, or advances in genetics. Yet, when researchers announce the latest climate predictions the nay sayers say nay. I suspect this is because people find the prospect of global climate change and its causes to directly challenge their belief structures and world view.

When reading this pause occasionally and think about the implications. Also consider that these are predictions for the just next 30-100 years. The climate changes will continue for thousands of years. Keep in mind that a 5°C average change was all that was needed to produce an ice age. Estimates now indicate a 2-6 °C change by the time you will be 100 years old.

Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability - Executive Summary

Field, C.B., L.D. Mortsch,, M. Brklacich, D.L. Forbes, P. Kovacs, J.A. Patz, S.W. Running and M.J. Scott, 2007: North America. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, M.L. Parry, O.F. Canziani, J.P. Palutikof, P.J. van der Linden and C.E. Hanson, Eds., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 617-652. Edited for length and added comments by Mr.Rick.

  1. North America has experienced locally severe economic damage, plus substantial ecosystem, social and cultural disruption from recent weather-related extremes, including hurricanes, other severe storms, floods, droughts, heatwaves and wildfires (very high confidence).
    • Over the past several decades, economic damage from severe weather has increased dramatically, due largely to increased value of the infrastructure at risk. Annual costs to North America have now reached tens of billions of dollars in damaged property and economic productivity, as well as lives disrupted and lost. "Additionally, a relatively small change in average temperature can result in much greater changes of extreme weather event. It is those extreme events that produce many of the significant impacts that affect human society." Gerald A. Meehl, Ph.D. in testimony before the Committee on Science and Technology United States House of Representatives. February 8, 2007
  2. Coastal communities and habitats will be increasingly stressed by climate change impacts interacting with development and pollution (very high confidence).
    • Sea level is rising along much of the coast, and the rate of change will increase in the future. Storm impacts are likely to be more severe. Salt marshes, other coastal habitats, and dependent species are threatened by sea-level rise, fixed structures blocking landward migration, and changes in vegetation. Population growth and the rising value of infrastructure in coastal areas increases vulnerability to climate variability and future climate change. Ocean levels are expected to rise 30-40cm by 2100. This does not include any melting of Antarctic or Greenland ice. Mr.R.
  3. Climate change will constrain North America's over-allocated water resources, increasing competition among agricultural, municipal, industrial and ecological uses (very high confidence).
    • Rising temperatures will diminish snowpack and increase evaporation, affecting seasonal availability of water. Oak Harbor drinks snowpack water. Mr.R. Higher demand from economic development, agriculture and population growth will further limit surface and groundwater availability. In the Great Lakes and major river systems, lower levels are likely to exacerbate challenges relating to water quality, navigation, recreation, hydropower generation, water transfers and bi-national relationships.
  4. Climate change impacts on infrastructure and human health and safety in urban centres will be compounded by ageing infrastructure, maladapted urban form and building stock, urban heat islands, air pollution, population growth and an ageing population (very high confidence). Our infrastructure (buildings, roads, etc) will have to be changed because of climate change. These changes will become more expensive the longer we wait.
  5. Without increased investments in countermeasures, hot temperatures and extreme weather are likely to cause increased adverse health impacts from heat-related mortality, pollution, storm-related fatalities and injuries, and infectious diseases (very high confidence).
    • Cities that currently experience heatwaves are expected to experience an increase in intensity and duration of these events by the end of the century, with potential for adverse health effects. The growing number of the elderly is most at risk. In Europe during the 2003 summer, 35,000 people died of heat related causes. Mr.R.
    • Water-borne diseases and degraded water quality are very likely to increase with more heavy precipitation. Warming and climate extremes are likely to increase respiratory illness, including exposure to pollen and ozone. Climate change is likely to increase risk and geographic spread of vector-borne infectious diseases, including Lyme disease and West Nile virus.
  6. Disturbances such as wildfire and insect outbreaks are increasing and are likely to intensify in a warmer future with drier soils and longer growing seasons (very high confidence).
    • Although recent climate trends have increased vegetation growth, continuing increases in disturbances are likely to limit carbon storage, facilitate invasive species, and disrupt ecosystem services.
    • Warmer summer temperatures are expected to extend the annual window of high fire ignition risk by 10-30%, and could result in increased area burned of 74-118% in Canada by 2100. Over the 21st century, pressure for species to shift north and to higher elevations will fundamentally rearrange North American ecosystems. Differential capacities for range shifts and constraints from development, habitat fragmentation, invasive species, and broken ecological connections will alter ecosystem structure, function and services.