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Tackling Climate Change in Florida and the Southeast


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Title: Tackling Climate Change in Florida and the Southeast

Tackling Climate Change in Florida and the
Climate Prediction and Assessment Science
Workshop March 4-7, 2008 Chapel Hill, NC David F.
Zierden, Melissa Griffin, and J. J.
OBrien Florida State Climatologist Center for
Ocean Atmospheric Prediction Studies The Florida
State University
What is a State Climatologist?
  • Originally a NOAA program until 1973
  • Most states made it a faculty appointment at the
    land grant university, title transferred to FSU
    after a number of years
  • Appointed by the University President
  • MOU with partners at NOAA NWS and NCDC
  • Office certified by the American Association of
    State Climatologists
  • Active partner in the Southeast Climate
  • Provide climate services, data, research, and
    outreach on climate matters to the state of

Southeast Climate Consortium
Facilitating the effective use of climate
information and forecasts in agriculture,
forestry, and water resources in the the
Southeast U.S.
  • Stakeholder involvement and responding to needs
    has always been key.
  • Growing interest in climate change issues
  • IPCC 4 and Al Gore
  • New administration in Florida
  • Changing markets - biofuels and ethanol
  • Carbon credits and markets
  • Sustainability

Where do I stand on global warming?
ENSO - Based Forecasts
El Nino Composite
La Nina Composite
Feb. 2007
Feb. 2008
Sources for Local Climate Change Information
  • Florida Government
  • www.floridaclimatechange.com
  • www.myfloridaclimate.com
  • Non-governmental organizations
  • NRDC - Florida Climate Alliance (Union of
    Concerned Scientist)
  • Environment Florida
  • Center for Science and Public Policy (Texas,
    North Carolina, Georgia, etc)
  • Various websites and blogs (climate science,
    climate audit, etc.)
  • No information
  • Southeast Climate Consortium
  • State Climate Office

SECC Climate Change Fact Sheets
  • Objectives
  • FOX News - fair and balanced
  • Work within IPCC framework
  • Focus on local issues, trends, and variability
  • Stress uncertainties, both in analysis of past
    climate and future possibilities
  • Fact Sheets in draft
  • Climate Change Basics
  • Historical trends
  • Climate Change and Agriculture
  • Adaptation and Mitigation

Climate Change versus Global Warming
  • Climate change is ongoing and has many causes,
    both natural and man-made.
  • Natural causes
  • Changes in solar intensity
  • Eccentricity in the earths orbit and wobbles
  • Vegetation, albedo changes
  • Volcanic eruptions
  • Coupled ocean/atmospheric cycles
  • Man-made causes
  • Urbanization
  • Land use changes (irrigation of semi-arid areas,
    draining wetlands)
  • Aerosols
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Global warming specifically refers to a general
    warming of the planet due the anthropogenic
    increase in greenhouses gases.
  • Unfortunately, climate change is now
    misconstrued as the same as global warming.

Modern Day Temperatures
Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as
is now evident from observations of increases in
global average air and ocean temperatures,
widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising
global average sea level. - IPCC 4
Southeast Temperature Trends
Rural Weather Station
  • Town is located to the northeast of Eglin AFB, a
    large expanse of undeveloped forests.
  • Surrounding countryside consists of pastures,
    farmland, and pine forests.
  • Station located at Showel Farms, 3 miles to the
    east of the city.
  • Walton County population is very low at around
  • USHCN station (unadjusted data)

Rural Weather Station
  • Station located at Page Field near downtown Fort
  • The city of Fort Myers has experienced tremendous
    urban sprawl in the last 40 years.
  • Lee county population has ballooned from 60,000
    to over a half million in the last 40 years.
  • USHCN station (unadjusted data)

Land Use Change
  • Small Farming community near the southern shore
    of Lake Okeechobee.
  • Station located 2.5 miles south of town at the
    Agriculture Experiment Station.
  • Relatively stable population.
  • USHCN station (unadjusted data)
  • Data record SHOULD be reflective of predominant
    climate trends.

Land Use Change
Land Use Change
Land cover maps of Florida from the pre-1900s
and from 1993 show the area south of Okeechobee
now surrounded by irrigated sugar cane fields.
Mesoscale modeling has shown large summertime
temperature differences in the area from
differences in land use (Marshall, et al., 2004).
Temperature difference in degrees C
Impact Freezes of the last century
Freeze Date ENSO State Dec 1894
Neutral Feb 1899 Neutral Dec
1934 Neutral Jan 1940
Neutral Dec 1962 Neutral Jan
1977 El Nino Jan 1981
Neutral Dec 1983 Neutral Jan
1985 Neutral Dec 1989
Neutral Jan 1997 Neutral High
Temperature Extremes
Hurricanes and Global Warming?
Emanuel (Nature, 2005) Hurricane power has
increased in recent decades due warmer sea
surface temperatures part to global
warming Webster, et al. (Science, 2005) The
number of category 4 and 5 hurricanes have
doubled in the last 30 years, due to global
  • Over the long term the effects of changes in
    society dwarf the effects of any projected
    changes in tropical cyclones
  • claims of linkages between global warming and
    hurricane impacts are premature
  • - Pielke, et. al., 2005
  • Thus large, long-term trends in tropical
    cyclone frequency are primarily manifestations of
    increased monitoring capabilities and likely not
    related to any real change in the climate in
    which they develop.
  • - Landsea, 2007

Historic sea level rise
  • Estimates of sea level rise around 2 mm/yr (8.5
  • Satellite measurements (altimeters) since 1992
    indicate a rise of around 3mm/yr.
  • IPCC third assessment report stated "No
    significant acceleration in the rate of sea level
    rise during the 20th century has been detected."
  • IPCC 4 estimates SLR between 8 and 24 inches by

Uncertain Future
  • Poor science or practices
  • Projecting changes in global average temperature
    on local or regional climate
  • Downscaling IPCC scenarios (or other GCM output)
    as input for regional physical or biological

IPCC Projections
  • Better approaches
  • Vulnerability or risk assessments
  • Sensitivity studies
  • Adaptation strategies
  • Proposed Center of Excellence for Climate and

Global Warming Myths
  • Throw out the record books, because global
    warming is raising temperatures in Florida and
    across the country,
  • - Environment Florida
  • "In low-lying areas, anticipated sea-level rise
    could force water to flow horizontally as much as
    400 feet or more inland--flooding shoreline homes
    and hotels and eroding Florida's famous beaches,"
  • - NRDC
  • The Union of Concerned Scientists predicts a
    three- to 10-degree Fahrenheit rise in winter low
    and summer high temperatures for Florida as a
    whole. Northern Florida, the group says, will
    suffer the most from loss of soil moisture.

The End
  • For more information, visit our websites
  • COAPS www.coaps.fsu.edu
  • Florida Climate Center www.coaps.fsu.edu/climat
  • AgClimate www.agclimate.org
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