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Our Climate is Changing & Getting More Intense.

Here is what’s at stake for coastal wildlife if we don’t act now!

 

If climate change continues unabated, nearly every ecosystem on the planet will alter dramatically, to the point of becoming an entirely new biome, according to a paper written by 42 scientists from around the world in 2018.

Particularly vulnerable will be coastal areas. The coastline of the United States is highly populated.  Approximately 25 million people live in an area vulnerable to coastal flooding [1][2].

Climate change can affect coastal areas in a variety of ways, but members of Save Coastal Wildlife are currently examining three (3) leading influences of a warmer world to wildlife on or near a shoreline:

Click an above button to find out more information about a specific topic

 

How Will A Changing Climate Influence

New York Harbor?

It’s one of the most populated human coastlines in the world.

According to the NY-NJ Harbor Estuary Program:

The climate of the New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary is changing and sea level is rising. 
Average temperatures in the New York-New Jersey metropolitan region have risen and are expected to continue increasing. What this means for our region is not warmer weather throughout the year, but rather a profound disruption of our climate, with extreme and unpredictable weather becoming more common.


This video, produced by the New Jersey Climate Adaptation Alliance, explores climate change and its effects on the Jersey Shore. Experts discuss temperature changes, sea level rise, coastal flooding, and ocean acidification and how this impacts communities, ecosystems and coastal economies. To learn more visit: http://climatechange.rutgers.edu http://njadapt.rutgers.edu http://www.njadapt.org


What Happened to the Ice Age that was predicted in the 1970s?

In the mid 1970s, around the same time that a few very cold, snowy winters were being experienced in most of the United State, some climate scientists were suggesting a cooling period or the arrival of another ice age. Articles in Newsweek, Time, and several other popular magazines and newspapers between 1974 and 1975 reported that the world was on the brink of a global ice age. Even the National Science Board in 1974 announced: "During the last 20 to 30 years, the world temperature has fallen, irregularly at first but more sharply over the last decade. Judging from the record of the past interglacial ages, the present time of high temperatures should be drawing to an end …leading into the next ice age." Sounds scary, right?

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So what happened?

First, many of those well-known articles calling for an ice age were printed for the interest of the general public, not in scientific journals for the critique of scientists. A survey of peer reviewed climate scientific papers from 1965 to 1979 showed that few papers predicted global cooling (7 in total), let alone another ice age. Significantly more papers (42 in total) predicted global warming (Peterson et al 2008).

In addition, those people suggesting the world might be entering into another ice age were implying that Planet Earth was at the end of an interglacial period, which is a “brief” intermission between ice ages. It began at the conclusion of the last glacial period, about 10,000 years ago. These relatively warm interglacial periods rarely last longer than 10,000 to 20,000 years. Our entire human civilization as we know has developed within a short space of this last interglacial period. Thus, there was speculation by some in the 1970s as to whether the interglacial period might be over and the planet as a whole would enter into a period of global cooling.

Some people as well had overestimated the cooling effect of air pollution from industry and vehicles in the atmosphere and underestimated the effect of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels. Meaning warming was more likely than cooling from air pollution and the burning of fossil fuels in the long run.

Scientists at present have much better tools and methods to study the environment and the climate compared to the 1970s. Many climate scientists (around 98 percent) now agree that the current warming trend is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) and is the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and is proceeding at an unprecedented rate. Current data reveals a changing climate that is overall warmer, not cooler.

 
Each year's global surface temperature compared to the twentieth-century average from 1880-2016. The three hottest years on record (2014–16) are colored red. The last record-warm "three-peat" was the period from 1939–41. Due to global warming, those years don't even rank in the top 30 warmest on record. Graph by  NOAA Climate.gov , based on data from NCEI's  Climate at a Glance .

Each year's global surface temperature compared to the twentieth-century average from 1880-2016. The three hottest years on record (2014–16) are colored red. The last record-warm "three-peat" was the period from 1939–41. Due to global warming, those years don't even rank in the top 30 warmest on record. Graph by NOAA Climate.gov, based on data from NCEI's Climate at a Glance.


U.S. Climate Report Warns of Damaged Environment and Shrinking Economy

November 23, 2018 - The National Climate Assessment summarizes the impacts of climate change on the United States, now and in the future.

A team of more than 300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee produced a report, which was extensively reviewed by the public and experts, including federal agencies and a panel of the National Academy of Sciences.

FOURTH NATIONAL CLIMATE ASSESSMENT

Summary Findings

Oceans & Coasts

Coastal communities and the ecosystems that support them are increasingly threatened by the impacts of climate change. Without significant reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions and regional adaptation measures, many coastal regions will be transformed by the latter part of this century, with impacts affecting other regions and sectors. Even in a future with lower greenhouse gas emissions, many communities are expected to suffer financial impacts as chronic high-tide flooding leads to higher costs and lower property values.

Rising water temperatures, ocean acidification, retreating arctic sea ice, sea level rise, high-tide flooding, coastal erosion, higher storm surge, and heavier precipitation events threaten our oceans and coasts. These effects are projected to continue, putting ocean and marine species at risk, decreasing the productivity of certain fisheries, and threatening communities that rely on marine ecosystems for livelihoods and recreation, with particular impacts on fishing communities in Hawai‘i and the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands, the U.S. Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico. Lasting damage to coastal property and infrastructure driven by sea level rise and storm surge is expected to lead to financial losses for individuals, businesses, and communities, with the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts facing above-average risks. Impacts on coastal energy and transportation infrastructure driven by sea level rise and storm surge have the potential for cascading costs and disruptions across the country. Even if significant emissions reductions occur, many of the effects from sea level rise over this centuryand particularly through mid-centuryare already locked in due to historical emissions, and many communities are already dealing with the consequences. Actions to plan for and adapt to more frequent, widespread, and severe coastal flooding, such as shoreline protection and conservation of coastal ecosystems, would decrease direct losses and cascading impacts on other sectors and parts of the country. More than half of the damages to coastal property are estimated to be avoidable through well-timed adaptation measures. Substantial and sustained reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions would also significantly reduce projected risks to fisheries and communities that rely on them.


NEWS & REPORTS


SOURCES:

[1] FEMA (2008). Coastal AE Zone and VE Zone Demographics Study and Primary Frontal Dune Study to Support the NFIP. Washington, DC: Federal Emergency Management Agency Technical Report, 98p.

[2] USGCRP (2014). Moser, S. C., M. A. Davidson, P. Kirshen, P. Mulvaney, J. F. Murley, J. E. Neumann, L. Petes, and D. Reed, 2014: Ch. 25: Coastal Zone Development and Ecosystems. Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate As sessment, J. M. Melillo, Terese (T.C.) Richmond, and G. W. Yohe, Eds., U.S. Global Change Research Program, , 579-618.