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Report: Climate Change Means Sizzling Summers for Ohio

PHOTO: Scorching heat waves and record low water levels in Lake Erie are among the effects of climate change in Ohio, according to the new 2014 National Climate Assessment. Photo credit: Scott Liddell/morguefile.
PHOTO: Scorching heat waves and record low water levels in Lake Erie are among the effects of climate change in Ohio, according to the new 2014 National Climate Assessment. Photo credit: Scott Liddell/morguefile.
May 7, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ohio - A new federal report finds climate change is real, it's human-caused, and it's impacting Ohio.

According to the National Climate Assessment, the average temperature in the United States has increased by 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1895, with 80 percent of that increase occurring over the last three decades.

Kent State University professor Scott Sheridan, editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Biometeorology, said Ohio is feeling those effects through very strong heat waves in recent years and fluctuations in Great Lakes levels.

"In particular, we've had a number of low-water events over the last few years," he said. "This past winter's actually offset that somewhat, but a lot of projections suggest that that could get far worse moving into the future."

The report examines the country by region and identifies specific threats should climate-changing trends continue. It details other effects across the nation, including drought, wildfires, heavier rainfall amounts and more severe weather.

Kim Knowlton, a senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council who co-authored the human health chapter of the report, said the research confirms that climate change is caused by human-caused carbon pollution, and it's already harming the country.

"We really can't afford to lose another decade in dealing with the issue of climate change," Knowlton said. "So, we're now at the point where we have so much information - so much evidence - we can no longer plead ignorance. There's a lot that we can do both to prepare and reduce heat-trapping carbon pollution."

The report was mandated by Congress and compiled by nearly 300 climate scientists and experts. On Tuesday, President Obama responded to the findings by renewing an urgent call for action to fight climate change.

The report is online at globalchange.gov.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH