Climate change is one of the most serious public health issues facing America today. The annual average temperature in the United States has increased by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 115 years and is expected to rise an additional 2.5 degrees, according to the U.S. Global Change Research Program. This has led to increased drought, more frequent wildfires, and other effects of climate and other effects of climate change that can’t be stopped.
According to the Fourth National Climate Assessment of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, it is extremely likely that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are the dominant cause of the increase in the rate of global warming since the mid-20th century.
In recent decades, a new branch of climate research has emerged that attempts to define the link between human activities and extreme weather events such as floods, heatwaves, droughts, and snowstorms. According to climate journalism site Carbon Brief, scientists concluded in 68% of the more than 230 extreme weather events they studied that human-caused climate change increased the likelihood or severity of the event.
Areas with already extreme climates tend to be more susceptible to climate change, and even more extreme weather events. The Southwestern United States, for example — the driest and hottest part of the country — is getting hotter and drier, leading to increased drought and wildfire.
In other parts of the country, global warming has led to rising sea levels and increased evaporation, ultimately leading to increased precipitation. Earlier this year, heavy rainfalls along the Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, and Mississippi River corridors have led to substantial flooding throughout the Midwest, leading to substantial property damage and dozens of deaths. Many of the places are also home to these popular summer getaways we’re losing to climate change.
Click here to see places where the weather is getting worse because of climate change.
Click here to see our methodology.
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