Climate Change Indicators in the United States

Last week EPA released the fourth edition of its publication Climate Change Indicators in the United StatesThe report explores 37 indicators of climate change.  It describes the significance of each indicator as well as the possible “consequences for people, the environment, and society.”

The 37 indicators are presented in six chapters as follows:

  • Greenhouse gases: U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Atmospheric Concentrations of Greenhouse Gases, and Climate Forcing.
  • Weather and Climate: U.S. and Global Temperature, High and Low Temperatures, U.S. and Global Precipitation, Heavy Precipitation, Tropical Cyclone Activity, River Flooding, and Drought.
  • Oceans:  Ocean Heat, Sea Surface Temperature, Sea Level, Coastal Flooding, and Ocean Acidity.
  • Snow & Ice: Arctic Sea Ice, Antarctic Sea Ice, Glaciers, Lake Ice, Snowfall, Snow Cover, and Snowpack.
  • Health & Society: Heat-Related Deaths, Heat-Related Illnesses, Heating and Cooling Degree Days, Lyme Disease, West Nile Virus, Length of Growing Season, and Ragweed Pollen Season.
  • Ecosystems: Wildfires, Streamflow, Stream Temperature, Great Lakes Water Levels, Bird Wintering Ranges, Marine Species Distribution, and Leaf and Bloom Dates.

Among its findings, the report states that the electricity and transportation sectors are respectively the highest and second highest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

EPA has also posted technical documentation about each indicator describing the data sources and analytical methods EPA used to develop the report.

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