Regional Climate Impacts and Implications — General Sources

Climate Wizard. A team of researchers from the Univ. of Washington, the Univ. of Southern Mississippi, and the Nature Conservancy has provided a tool for attempting to predict the effects of climate change at the regional and state level. They call their tool Climate Wizard, as noted in the June 10, 2009, TipSheet. The Web site allows users to check predictions based on varying degrees of climate change.

Climate Change Hotspots. An international team of researchers has developed another tool for predicting climate change impacts at the state and local level. The scenario they consider the most viable is illustrated here. A link to a press release describing their efforts is included in the Aug. 20, 2008, TipSheet.

The Pew Center on Global Climate Change tracks efforts by states and regions in a variety of ways (such as geographically, by type of emission source, or by relevant sector, such as transportation or buildings). Their tracker is here.

Local Governments. More than 1,100 local governments in the US and other countries, representing over 400 million people, have begun their own efforts to address climate change mitigation and adaptation. They are working either in support of, or due to a lack of, national efforts. Many of the government bodies are working together under the umbrella of ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability (originally called the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives when founded in 1990). You can contact each local government to get starting points for many local and regional stories:

State Emissions Inventories.
EPA says that, as of November 2008, 46 states and Puerto Rico are tracking their greenhouse gas emissions, and that one more state was in the process of developing its system. In addition, 32 states had developed a climate change action plan, and 6 others were working on such a plan. EPA has compiled the information on this page (which also includes information on state advisory boards and regional initiatives).

EPA Emissions Inventory. An EPA rule on mandatory greenhouse gas reporting was finalized Oct. 30, 2009, and goes into effect Dec. 29, 2009. It should lead relatively soon to extensive detailed data at the state and regional level.

Vulcan. Meanwhile, you can pin down local sources of CO2 emissions, identified by categories such as residential, nonroad, aircraft, and electricity production, using a tool called Vulcan developed through a collaboration between Purdue University, Colorado State University, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. It was released in February 2009.

Environment America. Another perspective on emissions is provided by the advocacy group Environment America in a report released Nov. 12, 2009. Data is reported by state, and you can track both recent emissions and trends from 1990-2007. For more information, see the TipSheet of Nov. 25, 2009.

CDC on Health Effects. For a starting point on local health effects of climate change, see CDC’s climate change page (which includes links to specific anticipated health effects that you can extrapolate to your region, as well as some general information on prevention and preparedness).

Additional health effects information, which can be projected for your region, is available from EPA.

Forest Impacts. Plausible links between climate change and specific types of adverse effects on many types of forests have been documented by researchers in 27 locations in the US and Canada. In many cases, you can find a similar type of forest in your region. The study was discussed in the Nov. 11, 2009, TipSheet.

National Park System. Climate change likely is affecting your local National Parks, Monuments, National Seashores, and National Recreation Areas. For one perspective on these changes, see a report released Oct. 1, 2009, by the Rocky Mountain Climate Organization and the Natural Resources Defense Council, and discussed in the Oct. 14, 2009, TipSheet.

Heat Waves. Local vulnerability to heat waves in larger US metropolitan areas was predicted by a team of researchers funded by EPA in work published November 2009 in Environmental Health Perspectives. Their analysis, at the census tract level, addressed many criteria, as noted in the June 24, 2009, TipSheet.

Bird Habitat Shift.
Bird watching, which is one of the most popular hobbies in the US, is changing as many species shift their habitat in response to climate change and other forces. Audubon documented many of those habitat shifts in a report released Feb. 10, 2009. The report’s detailed information allows you to localize this for your audience.