Fair Climate Risks and Resources
Global warming is making hot days hotter, rainfall and flooding heavier, hurricanes stronger and droughts more severe. This intensification of weather extremes and their impacts will be the most visible evidence of the changing climate in our everyday lives.
As population grows rapidly in cities along the coasts and in the South, more Americans will be living in places highly vulnerable to weather and climate extremes. Racial and ethnic minorities will be disproportionately impacted because their populations are concentrated in these places. For example, 56 percent of African Americans live in the southern United States or in urban areas. Increasing extreme weather events will exacerbate existing urban problems, such as poverty, inequality in health care access, aging infrastructure and air pollution.
Find out more about extreme weather and climate justice >>
As the United States warms another 4 to 11°F on average over the next century, we will have more heat waves and extremely hot summer days. Every part of the country will be affected. Urban areas will feel the heat more acutely because asphalt, concrete and other structures absorb and reradiate heat, causing temperature to climb up to 10°F higher than nearby rural areas.
Learn more >>
Unchecked global warming will worsen respiratory allergies for approximately 25 million Americans. Springtime allergies to tree pollens are projected to get worse. In the fall, ragweed is projected to thrive and become more irritating under increased carbon dioxide levels. These potential impacts of global warming could have a significant economic impact: allergies and asthma already cost the United States more than $32 billion annually in direct health care costs and lost productivity.
Find out more about global warming and extreme allergies>>
Global warming is having a peculiar effect on winter weather in the northern United States. Winter is becoming milder and shorter on average; spring arrives 10 to 14 days earlier than it did just 20 years ago. But most snowbelt areas still experience extremely heavy snowstorms. Some areas are even expected to see more heavy snowfall events as storm tracks shift northward and as reduced ice cover on the Great Lakes increases lake-effect snowfalls.
Find out more >>
Global warming is shifting precipitation patterns and also increasing evaporation rates. These trends will create persistently drier conditions in some places, including the American Southwest. At the same time, they will intensify the periodic droughts that affect other regions of the country. These longer and drier droughts are already having major consequences for water supply, agriculture and wildlife.
Find out more about global warming and water shortages in the Southeast >>
The American West is now facing catastrophic wildfires on the brink of combustion. Wildfire frequency, severity and damaging impact are increasing due to rising temperatures, drying conditions and more electrical storms brought on by global warming, combined with decades of fire suppression that allowed unsafe fuel loads to accumulate, a severe bark beetle infestation that is rapidly decimating trees and ever expanding human settlements in and near forests.
Find out more about global warming and wildfires >>
Global warming has caused more heavy rainfall events in the United States over the last few decades along with an increased likelihood of devastating floods. While no single storm or flood can be attributed directly to global warming, changing climate conditions are at least partly responsible for these trends. Because warmer air can hold more moisture, heavier precipitation is expected in the years to come. Shifts in snowfall patterns, the early onset of spring and river-ice melting may all exacerbate flooding risks.
Find out more about global warming and floods >>
The U.S. Gulf and Atlantic coasts are at risk of stronger hurricanes, heavier rainfall and rising sea level. The latest science indicates that maximum hurricane wind speed will increase 2 to 13 percent and rainfall rates will increase 10 to 31 percent over this century. At the same time, sea-level rise will cause bigger storm surges and further erode the natural defenses provided by coastal wetlands that buffer storm impacts.
Find out more about global warming and hurricanes >>