Pennsylvanians will need to adapt quickly to already occurring climate change that is causing more frequent and intense flooding events and more deadly summer heat waves, according to the third U.S. National Climate Assessment released today.
The assessment of possible climate change impacts also predicted that Pennsylvania will experience warmer winters and less snowfall, and increased flooding events that will severely damage water, sewer and electrical systems and human health.
Projected increase in the number of days per year with a maximum temperature greater than 90°F averaged between 2041 and 2070, compared to 1971-2000, assuming continued increases in global emissions (A2). (Figure source: NOAA NCDC / CICS-NC).
A regional heat map projects the Pittsburgh region will experience more than 20 additional days above 90°F per year by 2070 compared to the end of last century. Urban residents are more vulnerable to higher temperatures, since concrete and asphalt retain heat. The “urban heat island” effect can be mitigated by planting vegetation, such as trees or green roofs. These green infrastructure features can also help reduce flooding damage by retaining water during extreme weather events.
Explore the 2014 National Climate Assessment by visiting this interactive website: nca2014.globalchange.gov and read more from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.