The latest federal climate assessment holds surprising predictions for global warming impacts on the Northwest. As the rest of the nation sweltered through a series of heatwaves last summer, Oregonians enjoyed a rather mild season. Since Oregon and Washington were the only states which did not experience record temperatures last year, many may feel there is nothing to worry about as far as the climate is concerned. But according to the federal climate assessment, we can expect hotter summers, sea level rise and lower streamflows. In fact, temperatures could rise as much as nine degrees within the next hundred years.
While some may think it might not be bad to have a little less rain in the soggy Northwest, less rainfall and earlier snowmelt could bring a host of other problems with it: more forest fires, tidal surges, less irrigation water and insect outbreaks. Parts of the report even predict a possible “almost complete loss” of the subalpine forest by the year 2080.
There are those in the Northwest who would rather stick their head in the sand and say that global warming is a hoax and is a made up fantasy by Al Gore and his cohorts. But even the skeptics have to admit there is something strange about the weather. With radical weather patterns like hurricane Sandy, extreme weather events seem to be more of the norm than the exception. Whether or not you believe in global warming, changing patterns in our climate are here to stay.
For the public who would like to participate in the debate, there will be a NCA Northwest Regional Town Hall meeting on Tuesday, March 12, 2013 in Portland. The public can email Emily Therese Cloyd, NCA Public Participation and Engagement Coordinator, at email@example.com.