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Tackling Climate Change in Florida and the Southeast Climate Prediction and Assessment Science Workshop March 4-7, 2008 Chapel Hill, NC David F. Zierden, Melissa Griffin, and J. J. O’Brien Florida State Climatologist Center for Ocean Atmospheric Prediction Studies The Florida State University
What is a State Climatologist? • Originally a NOAA program until 1973 • Most states made it a faculty appointment at the land grant university, title transferred to FSU after a number of years • Appointed by the University President • MOU with partners at NOAA NWS and NCDC • Office certified by the American Association of State Climatologists • Active partner in the Southeast Climate Consortium • Provide climate services, data, research, and outreach on climate matters to the state of Florida
Southeast Climate Consortium “Facilitating the effective use of climate information and forecasts in agriculture, forestry, and water resources in the the Southeast U.S.” • Stakeholder involvement and responding to needs has always been key. • Growing interest in climate change issues: • IPCC 4 and Al Gore • New administration in Florida • Changing markets - biofuels and ethanol production • Carbon credits and markets • Sustainability
ENSO - Based Forecasts El Nino Composite La Nina Composite Feb. 2007 Feb. 2008
Sources for Local Climate Change Information • Florida Government: • www.floridaclimatechange.com • www.myfloridaclimate.com • Non-governmental organizations: • NRDC - Florida Climate Alliance (Union of Concerned Scientist) • Environment Florida • Center for Science and Public Policy (Texas, North Carolina, Georgia, etc) • Various websites and blogs (climate science, climate audit, etc.) • No information: • NOAA CPC, NWS • Southeast Climate Consortium • State Climate Office
SECC Climate Change “Fact Sheets” • Objectives: • FOX News - fair and balanced • Work within IPCC framework • Focus on local issues, trends, and variability • Stress uncertainties, both in analysis of past climate and future possibilities • Fact Sheets in draft: • Climate Change Basics • Historical trends • Climate Change and Agriculture • Adaptation and Mitigation
“Climate Change” versus “Global Warming” • Climate change is ongoing and has many causes, both natural and man-made. • Natural causes: • Changes in solar intensity • Eccentricity in the earth’s orbit and “wobbles” • Vegetation, albedo changes • Volcanic eruptions • Coupled ocean/atmospheric cycles • Man-made causes: • Urbanization • Land use changes (irrigation of semi-arid areas, draining wetlands) • Aerosols • Greenhouse gases • “Global warming” specifically refers to a general warming of the planet due the anthropogenic increase in greenhouses gases. • Unfortunately, “climate change” is now misconstrued as the same as “global warming.”
Modern Day Temperatures “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global average sea level.” - IPCC 4
Rural Weather Station • Town is located to the northeast of Eglin AFB, a large expanse of undeveloped forests. • Surrounding countryside consists of pastures, farmland, and pine forests. • Station located at Showel Farms, 3 miles to the east of the city. • Walton County population is very low at around 40,000. • USHCN station (unadjusted data)
Urbanization • Station located at Page Field near downtown Fort Myers. • The city of Fort Myers has experienced tremendous urban sprawl in the last 40 years. • Lee county population has ballooned from 60,000 to over a half million in the last 40 years. • USHCN station (unadjusted data)
Land Use Change • Small Farming community near the southern shore of Lake Okeechobee. • Station located 2.5 miles south of town at the Agriculture Experiment Station. • Relatively stable population. • USHCN station (unadjusted data) • Data record SHOULD be reflective of predominant climate trends.
Land Use Change Land cover maps of Florida from the pre-1900’s and from 1993 show the area south of Okeechobee now surrounded by irrigated sugar cane fields. Mesoscale modeling has shown large summertime temperature differences in the area from differences in land use (Marshall, et al., 2004). Temperature difference in degrees C
Impact Freezes of the last century Freeze Date ENSO State *Dec 1894 Neutral Feb 1899 Neutral Dec 1934 Neutral Jan 1940 Neutral *Dec 1962 Neutral Jan 1977 El Nino Jan 1981 Neutral *Dec 1983 Neutral Jan 1985 Neutral *Dec 1989 Neutral Jan 1997 Neutral * High Impact
Hurricanes and Global Warming? Emanuel (Nature, 2005) – Hurricane power has increased in recent decades due warmer sea surface temperatures part to global warming Webster, et al. (Science, 2005) – The number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes have doubled in the last 30 years, due to global warming.
“Over the long term the effects of changes in society dwarf the effects of any projected changes in tropical cyclones…” • “…claims of linkages between global warming and hurricane impacts are premature…” • - Pielke, et. al., 2005 • “Thus large, long-term ‘trends’ in tropical cyclone frequency are primarily manifestations of increased monitoring capabilities and likely not related to any real change in the climate in which they develop.” • - Landsea, 2007
Historic sea level rise • Estimates of sea level rise around 2 mm/yr (8.5 inches). • Satellite measurements (altimeters) since 1992 indicate a rise of around 3mm/yr. • IPCC third assessment report stated "No significant acceleration in the rate of sea level rise during the 20th century has been detected." • IPCC 4 estimates SLR between 8 and 24 inches by 2100.
Uncertain Future • Poor science or practices: • Projecting changes in global average temperature on local or regional climate • Downscaling IPCC scenarios (or other GCM output) as input for regional physical or biological systems. IPCC Projections • Better approaches: • Vulnerability or risk assessments • Sensitivity studies • Adaptation strategies • Proposed Center of Excellence for Climate and Society
Global Warming “Myths” • “Throw out the record books, because global warming is raising temperatures in Florida and across the country,” • - Environment Florida • "In low-lying areas, anticipated sea-level rise could force water to flow horizontally as much as 400 feet or more inland--flooding shoreline homes and hotels and eroding Florida's famous beaches," • - NRDC • “The Union of Concerned Scientists predicts a three- to 10-degree Fahrenheit rise in winter low and summer high temperatures for Florida as a whole. Northern Florida, the group says, will suffer the most from loss of soil moisture.”
The End For more information, visit our websites: COAPS: www.coaps.fsu.edu Florida Climate Center: www.coaps.fsu.edu/climate_center AgClimate : www.agclimate.org