Just a few days ago in the Navajos' Chuska Mountains, I was listening to a traditional Navajo farmer talk about how dry the earth is. Looking at the dry pinon trees and dusty earth, she said it would be hard to get the corn and squash to grow this summer. The earth is so dry that it does not absorb water like it used to. Every year it gets worse.
The U.S. censored climate report, just released under court order, reflects this truth about the drought in the Southwest. The report also reveals the truth foretold by the Hopi spiritual leaders. Hurricanes and storms are increasing with global warming and changes in ocean air circulation.
Common Dreams provides details on how the report came to be released
May 29 - A report released today by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Scientific Assessment of the Effects of Global Change on the United States, summarizes evidence of global climate disruption, the harmful impacts it is already having on society and the environment, and future projections of potential damages. The report, years overdue under a requirement of law, was produced only in response to an August 2007 federal court order that an assessment be produced by May 31, 2008.
Here are some of the reports eye-opening passages:
1. Earth's surface is getting warmer - humans the cause - mostly due to increased carbon dioxide emissions.
... it is unequivocal that the average temperature of Earth’s surface has warmed recently and it is very likely (greater than 90% probability)2 that most of this global warming is due to increased concentrations of human generated greenhouse gases
Of the greenhouse gases that are increasing in atmospheric concentration as a direct result of human activities, carbon dioxide is contributing most to the recent warming. The globally averaged concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased from about 280 parts per million (ppm) in the 18th century to 383 ppm in 2007. Emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel use and from the effects of land use change are the primary sources of this increase. The current atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide greatly exceeds the natural range of the last 650,000 years (180 to 300 ppm) as determined from ice cores.
2. Snow cover will keep decreasing, glaciers and ice sheets will lose mass, sea level will rise
Snow cover is projected to continue to decrease as the climate warms. According to the IPCC, results from multiple model simulations indicate that an Arctic Ocean free of summer ice is likely by the end of the century, with some models suggesting that this could occur as soon as 2040. Glaciers and terrestrial ice sheets are projected to continue to lose mass as increases in summertime melting outweigh increases in wintertime precipitation. This will contribute to sea level rise. Widespread increases in thaw depth are projected over most permafrost regions.
3. Abrupt climate change occurs when a threshold is crossed
An abrupt climate change occurs when the climate system crosses a threshold, which triggers a transition into a new state that may have large and widespread consequences. Over at least the last 100,000 years, abrupt regional warming (up to 29 °F within decades over Greenland) and cooling events occurred repeatedly over the North Atlantic region. Greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the Earth system may increase the possibility of abrupt climate change.
4. Life in the U.S.A has already been affected, and will continue to be
According to CCSP SAP 4.3, it is very likely that temperature increases, increasing carbon dioxide levels, and altered patterns of precipitation are already affecting U.S. water resources, agriculture, land resources, biodiversity, and human health, among other things. SAP 4.3 also concluded that it is very likely that climate change will continue to have significant effects on these resources over the next few decades and beyond.
5. Longer, more intense wildfire seasons, insect outbreaks, tree mortality
In the last three decades, the wildfire season in the western United States has lengthened and burn durations have increased. Climate change has also very likely increased the size and number of insect outbreaks and tree mortality that help to fuel wildfires in the interior West, the Southwest, and Alaska. These trends are very likely to continue.
6. Oceans have become more acidic
The increasing carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere has made the oceans more acidic. This acidification is expected to have negative impacts on marine shell-forming organisms and consequently large portions of the marine food chain.
7. Expect increasing crop failures
With increased carbon dioxide levels and temperature, the life ...cycle of grain and oilseed crops will likely progress more rapidly. But, as temperatures rise, these crops will increasingly begin to fail, especially if climate variability increases and precipitation lessens or becomes more variable.
8. Expect changes in crop yields
The marketable yield of many horticultural crops (e.g., tomatoes, onions, and fruits) is very likely to be more sensitive to climate change than grain and oilseed crops.
9. Crops and domestic animals more subject to diseases - parasites / pathogens to proliferate
Disease pressure on crops and domestic animals will likely increase with earlier springs and warmer winters, which will allow proliferation and higher survival rates of pathogens and parasites. Regional variation in warming and changes in rainfall will also affect spatial and temporal distribution of disease.
10. Increased risk and spread of infectious diseases
Climate change is likely to increase the risk and geographic spread of vector-borne infectious diseases, including Lyme disease and West Nile virus.
11. More polluted air will cause more premature deaths in people
In studies holding pollution emissions constant, climate change was found to lead to
increases in regional ground-level ozone pollution in the United States and other countries. It is well-documented that breathing air containing ozone can reduce lung function, increase susceptibility to respiratory infection, and contribute to premature death in people with heart and lung disease
12. Spread of allergies
Climate change and changes in carbon dioxide concentration could increase the production and allergenicity of airborne allergens and affect the growth and distribution of weeds, grasses, and trees that produce them, which may increase the incidence of allergic rhinitis