As the planet warms, the destructive changes predicted by scientists are coming to pass. As in previous months, this June has seen records fall, people die, and infrastructure destroyed from the terrible power of our planet’s climatic system, fueled by increasing heat trapped by invisible greenhouse pollution from fossil fuels.
The 2009 U.S. Global Change Research Program report, Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, described the changes coming to the United States in detail. Using multiple lines of evidence and theory, scientists from a broad array of government agencies explained that America needs to be on alert for the growing threats from global warming — immediately. The report described both regional sectoral impacts from a killer climate that are being seen not in the distant future, but now:
– During the summer, public health and quality of life, especially in cities, will be negatively affected by increasing heat waves, reduced air quality, and increasing insect and waterborne diseases.
– The likely increase in precipitation in winter and spring, more heavy downpours, and greater evaporation in summer would lead to more periods of both floods and water deficits.
June 6: About a dozen tornadoes lit down in Illinois, knocking out power for thousands. In Ohio, tornadoes killed 7 people and injured several others in the towns of Lake Township and Millbury in Wood County, the deadliest tornado outbreak there in 25 years.
June 17: “At least three people were killed and dozens injured as a series of tornadoes tore through Minnesota, flattening homes, toppling power lines and leaving a big chunk of Wadena treeless.”
June 22: Floods and tornadoes from freak rains destroyed property throughout the Midwest.
– Projected changes in long-term climate and more frequent extreme events such as heat waves, droughts, and heavy rainfall will affect many aspects of life in the Great Plains.
June 14: “Record-busting rainfall and ensuing flooding in Oklahoma led to at least one death,” after “thunderstorms dumped as much as 10 inches of rain in some areas in a matter of hours.”
June 17: A “90-mile-an-hour microburst” blew apart a home in Montana, killing one.
– Projected increases in air and water temperatures will cause heat-related stresses for people, plants, and animals.
June 12 – 15: Augusta, GA’s “high temperature of 104 easily broke the record high” for June 15 at the close of a five-day 100+ heat wave.
– Extreme heat and declining air quality are likely to pose increasing problems for human health, especially in urban areas.
– Cities and agriculture face increasing risks from a changing climate.
– Energy production and delivery systems are exposed to sea-level rise and extreme weather events in vulnerable regions.
June 24: A freak tornado tore through Bridgeport, CT, causing severe damage and leaving 21,100 customers without power.
– City residents and city infrastructure have unique vulnerabilities to climate change.
June 23: A violent storm “producing damaging winds, golf-ball-sized hail and brief rain-wrapped tornadoes” descended upon Chicago, knocking out power for 220,000 people
June 24: A freak storm knocked out power to 280,000 in the Philadelphia region.
– Extreme events such as heavy downpours and droughts are likely to reduce crop yields because excesses or deﬁcits of water have negative impacts on plant growth.
June 24: Hail destroyed crops in Washington.
Meanwhile, in the rest of the world, floods have killed 365 in China, at least 144 people in Central America, 42 people in Brazil, 19 people in France, and at least 24 people in Ghana, leaving tens of thousands of people homeless. Ten million people face starvation from drought in Niger and Chad. Mohenjo-daro, “a ruined city in what is now Pakistan that contains the last traces of a 4,000-year-old civilization that flourished on the banks of the river Indus,” hit the fourth-hottest recorded temperature of all time at 128.6 F, behind Al ‘Aziziyah, Libya (136 F in 1922), Death Valley (134 in 1913) and Tirat Zvi, Israel (129 F in 1942).