The Facts—What Do We Already Know About Changing Global Conditions (Global Warming)?
- Global temperatures are rising. Observations collected over the last century suggest that the average land surface temperature has risen 0.45-0.6°C (0.8-1.0°F) in the last century.
- Precipitation has increased by about 1 percent over the world's continents in the last century, with more rain in high latitudes and less rain in many tropical areas.
- Sea levels have risen approximately 15-20 cm (6-8 inches) worldwide in the last century, due to melting mountain glaciers and ocean expansion from warmer ocean temperatures.
The Future—What Predictions Can We Make About Climate Change and Global Warming?
- Rising global temperatures are expected to further raise sea level, and change precipitation and other local climate conditions.
- Changing regional climate could alter forests, crop yields, and water supplies.
- In the next century, the projected 2°C (3.6°F) warming could shift the ideal range of many North American forest tree species by about 300 km (200 mi.) to the north.
- Climate change could change grazing activities on western rangeland habitats due to shifts in water availability and plant compositions.
- Human and animal health will be affected by more heat-related deaths. There will be increases in "vector-borne" diseases such as plague, malaria, encephalitis, and yellow fever.
- Loss of habitat may affect populations of many types of wildlife, including birds, reptiles, mammals, fish and sea life. Increased rates of extinction are expected.
- Agricultural crops could be affected in a variety of ways due to changes in rainfall and temperatures. Farming and ranching will require adaptation to new crops or new agricultural practices in the face of climate change.
WHAT CAN YOU DO AT HOME TO HELP PREVENT GLOBAL WARMING & A CHANGE IN CLIMATE
- Plant native trees around your homes and businesses.
- Replace your home's refrigerator with a high-efficiency model.
- Buy products in reusable or recyclable packaging.
- Replace your washing machine with a low-energy, low-water use machine.
- Install a solar thermal system to help provide your hot water.
- Recycle all of your home's waste newspapers, cardboard, glass, and metal.
- Leave your car at home two days a week (walk, bike, vanpool, or take the bus).
- Insulate your home, tune up your furnace, and install energy-efficient showerheads.