Tags: What if Global Warming Continues | Climate Change | Great Plains

What If Global Warming Continues? 8 Most Dire Scenarios For America's Great Plains

By    |   Monday, 09 February 2015 11:10 AM

From as far south as Texas to the far North of Montana and North Dakota, America's Great Plains region has climate variations from extreme cold to extreme heat. The region has already been affected by climate change and, if global warming continues, higher temperatures will significantly increase drought, which will create competition for water and other resources.

Here are eight dire scenarios for America's Great Plains if global warming continues:

1. Climate Science Watch states, "This region is expected to be under siege from several directions from the effects of dwindling water resources driven by higher heat-related demands, and from higher pest populations made possible by warmer temperatures."

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2. Bruce Melton, author of "Climate Discovery Chronicles" claims the worst-case global warming scenario is already happening in Texas. "What has been happening in Texas, with these unprecedented (in time frames that matter) droughts and wildfires, is exactly what the climate scientists have been warning us about for over 20 years. We have been building up to this point since about the turn of the century, and now ecosystems have tipped over the edge."

3. "For an average of seven days per year, maximum temperatures reach more than 100ºF in the Southern Plains and about 95ºF in the Northern Plains. These high temperatures are projected to occur much more frequently … with days over 100ºF projected to double in number in the north and quadruple in the south by mid-century," according to the 2014 National Climate Assessment (NCA) report.

4. NCA also points to the global warming induced drought that has already affected portions of the Great Plains. "During the droughts of 2011 and 2012, ranchers liquidated large herds due to lack of food and water. Many cattle were sold to slaughterhouses; others were relocated to other pastures through sale or lease." If global warming continues, livestock crisis are likely to reoccur unless ranchers adapt.

5. A report by the U.S. Global Change Research Information Office on the Great Plains addresses the economic cost of continued global warming. "Rural communities, already stressed by their declining populations and shrinking economic bases, are dependent on the competitive advantage of their agricultural products in domestic and foreign markets. A changing climate will likely bring additional stresses that will disproportionately impact family farmers and ranchers."

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6. "Climate changes are projected to cause considerable stress to the wildlife of the Great Plains region and to the habitats upon which they depend," according to Defenders of Wildlife. The Great Plains are defined as "America's Serengeti" and between increased temperatures, drought, competition for water and invasion by nonnative plants, the animals, birds, waterfowl and aquatic species are all at significant risk if global warming continues.

7. Global warming has already had a negative impact on the 70 federally recognized Native American tribes in the Great Plains. According to a White House press release, "While tribal communities have adapted to climate change for centuries, they are now constrained by physical and political boundaries. Traditional ecosystems and native resources no longer provide the support they used to. Tribal members have reported the decline or disappearance of culturally important animal species, changes in the timing of cultural ceremonies due to earlier onset of spring, and the inability to locate certain types of ceremonial wild plants."

8. If global warming continues, Climate Progress predicts critical reservoirs in the Great Plains will dry up. "In some key areas, including the Southwest, parts of California, and the central and southern Great Plains, 'important reservoirs are left with little or no water' in some scenarios. In the Colorado River Basin, for instance, 'Lakes Powell and Mead are projected to drop to zero and only occasionally thereafter add rather small amounts of storage before emptying again.'"

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From as far south as Texas to the far North of Montana and North Dakota, America's Great Plains region has climate variations from extreme cold to extreme heat.
What if Global Warming Continues, Climate Change, Great Plains
Monday, 09 February 2015 11:10 AM
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