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Climate change hurts Plains states

POSTED: May 8, 2014 7:00 a.m.

 Regional breakdown in the National Climate AssessmentA sweeping new report on the impacts of climate change in America shows that the Great Plains states face rising temperatures and more severe weather.  The Third National Climate Assessment (NCA) was released this week. In addition to national data about climate change, the report includes a section dedicated to the effect of climate change on the Great Plains. “As this important report shows, climate change is hurting people in the Great Plains, and all Americans, today -- and will continue to harm our environment, our health and our infrastructure,” said Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). “We need to work together to meet this challenge, starting with national limits on climate pollution from power plants. We have no time to waste.” The NCA is the work of more than 300 experts who looked at all available data on the effects climate change is having on the U.S. It was overseen by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee and was reviewed by the National Academies of Sciences with input from the public. Among the report’s findings for the Great Plains:The Great Plains should expect more frequent and more intense droughts, more severe rainfall events, and more heat waves in the future.North Dakota's increase in annual temperature over the past 130 years is the fastest in the contiguous U.S.The number of days with temperatures of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit is expected to double in the northern Great Plains, and quadruple in the southern Great Plains, by the middle of the century.Very heavy rains are expected to increase in the northern portions of the Great Plains, leading to increased runoff and flooding that will reduce water quality and erode soil. More intense rains will also contribute to urban flooding.Large parts of Texas and Oklahoma are projected to see longer dry spells and more droughts.The expected rise in sea level will result in the potential for greater damage from storm surge along the Gulf Coast of Texas.The magnitude of expected changes will exceed those experienced in the last century across the region. Existing adaptation and planning efforts are inadequate to respond to these projected impacts. More will need to be done.You can find more about how climate change will affect the weather, public health, the environment and agriculture in the Great Plains in the NCA, as well as other information about how your state and local governments have begun to address the problem. You can also see more information on EDF’s website or on our blog EDF Voices, or contact us to talk to one of our experts about how climate change is affecting your area.### Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading national nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on EDF Voices, Twitter and Facebook

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