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Publications and Products

Title: Climate change: Updates on recent global and United States temperature anomalies and impacts to water, forests, and environmental health

Authors: Levinson, David.H; Fettig, Chris.J

Date: 2021

Publication Climate Change and Global Public Health. New York: Springer. 51-74. Chapter 3

Abstract: Over the past few years, a number of improvements have been made to global surface air temperature datasets and climate models that facilitate increased statistical reliability when determining temperature anomalies and trends. Recent measurements show a continued rise in land surface temperatures, both globally and across the United States. These trends have been increasing since the 1970s with the world’s five warmest years on record (based on data since 1880) occurring since 2015. Maintaining consistent, high-quality water resources is a primary issue for public and environmental health, and declining water supplies and degradation of water quality are of increasing, widespread concern. Hydrologic model simulations over the twenty-first century show that in the absence of further adaptation serious water shortages due to changes in climate are likely in some regions. For example, in the United States, a declining trend in annual runoff has been observed for the Colorado River Basin, the primary water supply for vast areas of the Southwest and the Colorado Plateau. At the same time, more frequent extreme weather events are increasing the frequency and/or magnitude of forest disturbances, such as wildfires, droughts and floods, and insect outbreaks, which are also impacting watershed function. While more recent assessments indicate the vast majority of watersheds in the United States remained in the same Watershed Condition Classification as reported in 2011, of those that have changed the majority have degraded. The effects of climate change on forests include both positive and negative impacts with feedbacks that influence public and environmental health.

Keywords: Climate change, Climate variability, Drought, Forest disturbance, Forest health, Watershed Condition Classification system, Water quality, Water resources, Watershed health

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Citation

    Levinson, D.H.; Fettig, C.J. 2021. Climate change: Updates on recent global and United States temperature anomalies and impacts to water, forests, and environmental health. In: Pinkerton, K.E.; Rom, W.N., eds. Climate Change and Global Public Health. New York: Springer: 51-74. Chapter 3.
Last Modified: March 9, 2021