EPA Report: Indicators Show Effects of Climate Change

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on April 27 issued a report Climate Change Indicators in the United States, which looks at 24 key indicators that show how climate change impacts the health and environment of the nation’s citizens.

“These indicators show us that climate change is a very real problem with impacts that are already being seen,” said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “The actions Americans are taking today to save energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions will help us solve this global challenge.”

Some of the key findings include:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are increasing. Between 1990 and 2008, there has been about a 14 percent increase in emissions in the United States.
  • Average temperatures are rising. Seven of the top 10 warmest years on record for the continental United States have occurred since 1990.
  • Tropical cyclone intensity has increased in recent decades. Six of the 10 most active hurricane seasons have occurred since the mid-1990s.
  • Sea levels are rising. From 1993 to 2008, sea level rose twice as fast as the long-term trend.
  • Glaciers are melting. Loss of glacier volume appears to have accelerated over the last decade.
  • The frequency of heat waves has risen steadily since the 1960s. The percentage of the U.S. population impacted by heat waves has also increased.

The information included in this report will help inform future policy decisions and will help evaluate the success of climate change efforts. The data used in this report were collected by several government agencies, academic institutions, and other stakeholder organizations. As new data and information become available, EPA will update and broaden the indicators in future reports.

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