A Midwest Look Inside Government’s Climate Change Report

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — To help put Friday’s climate change report into better context, we’ve called on our daybreak meteorologist Elisa Raffa

BRIAN 
Elisa thank you. Appreciate you coming in. Now, what’s going on? You’ve got the report here. It’s actually more local than people might at first think. It’s not just a national report. There’s actually a chapter on the Ozarks.

ELISA
So they do chapters on every region. There’s one on the Midwest, there’s one on the Northeast, the South, the Gulf, so on and so forth. 
In the chapter on the Midwest, they actually do make mention of forests here in the Ozarks.
Obviously with the chapter on the Midwest – huge on agriculture.
We just learned with the vulture piece I did last week, that here in the Ozarks, Missouri included, one of the biggest beef production in the Midwest so agriculture is huge here and greatly impacted by climate change and it mentions the Ozarks forest for agriculture and things like that.

BRIAN :
The impact obviously not good.

ELISA
Right, with warming temperatures more frost-free days that could increase by a month towards the end of the century. That’s not good for growing conditions we’re looking at a decrease in yield. We’re looking at stresses of temps stay warmer – mosquitos stick around. More pests more drought. Longer allergy season — things like that. And it mentions the forest because as temperatures rise – that warm air puts moisture in the air and not on the trees and we could lose trees pretty quick as well.

BRIAN 
What is the worst case scenario? You’re looking at maybe 5 or 10 degrees warmer by the end of the century. That doesn’t seem like a lot.

ELISA
It doesn’t sound like a lot but you have to think of it in the context of a fever. Human body temperature – 98.6 if you have a fever of 102 you feel terrible. It’s only a couple of degrees but that fever is going to make you feel sick. The earth really has a fever. These temps on a global scale – 1 degree, 2 degrees, 3 degrees. That is a lot.

BRIAN 
What is causing all this? Greenhouse gasses, greenhouse emissions, why?

ELISA
Some of those greenhouse emissions are – carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen. They happen naturally. But we’re adding extra with the emission of fossil fuels – things like cars, things like buildings, electricity. We’re putting too much and that’s where we get the warming temperatures. These gasses trap heat.

BRIAN 
What do we have to do?

ELISA: We need a plan. And it says in this report multiple times that the decisions we make today affect the future. We need a plan to reduce these emissions for the future of ecosystems, agriculture, the economy. The list goes on and on. A very chunky assessment here.

BRIAN

Put out by the Trump administration. You wanted to reiterate that.

ELISA

Yes it’s mandated by the federal government, the Trump administration, released it this Friday.

FULL REPORT: Fourth National Climate Assessment — https://nca2018.globalchange.gov 

Chapter 21: MIDWEST — https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/chapter/21/ 

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