There is a saying: the climate is what you expect; the weather is what you get. In describing the current and future impacts of climate change in the United States, the third National Climate Assessment released in early May updates the view of what we should expect with regards to climate change. And looking at the weather we have had across the United States recently, it appears that we might be getting a preview of our future normal.
A deep drought persists across California, the Southwest, Texas, and Oklahoma. In the upper Midwest, many communities have seen record rainfall and flooding. It will come as no surprise that the National Climate Assessment shows that Americans are already feeling the effects of extreme weather in many regions of the country.
The report looks at different weather trends, including temperature, precipitation, and extreme weather, and suggests that the intensity of rainfall during storm events will increase, as well the duration of dry spells. Sections also focus on the risks facing different sectors, including water and agriculture, and impacts on urban areas and rural communities.
Because it's important for everybody to understand what climate change will mean for them where they live, the sections describing impacts in specific regions of the country should be of particular interest. From increased fire risk and drought to sea level rise and more intense storms, you can also find out what climate change looks like for Americans on the front lines through a series of short videos produced to support the assessment.
By understanding current and future impacts, we will be able to better help our communities adapt to meet future challenges. WaterSense and efficient water use can be a key component of community adaptation strategies to address water shortages now and in the future.