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  • Cayan, D., A. Luers, M. Hanemann, G. Franco and B. Croes, 2006: Scenarios of Climate Change in California: An Overview. California Climate Change Center, publication #CEC-500-2005-186-SF, 53 pages.

Summary of Key Findings and Recommendations

- Climate change impacts will affect all of the sectors considered in this report: sea-level rise, agriculture, snowpack and water supply, forestry, wildfire risk, public health, and electricity demand and supply.

- The more that greenhouse gases (GHGs) accumulate in the Earth's atmosphere over the next century, the greater the warming and the more severe and costly the impacts will be. This study considered three future GHG emissions scenarios - low, medium high, and high emissions - and explored associated climate changes through three modern climate models of differing sensitivity to GHG concentrations.

- Although climate model results are inconclusive as to whether California's precipitation will change over the next century, all climate models show increases in temperature, with the aggregate of several model runs containing a range of warming from 2000 to 2100 from about +2 deg C to about +6 deg C (+3.6 deg F to about +10.8 deg F). Increases in temperature alone would impact the California hydrological cycle, with consequences upon the state's water supply, hydroelectric power supply, agriculture, recreation, and ecosystems.

- Climate change could produce compounding impacts - for instance, in the San Francisco Bay Delta, heightened sea levels and high river inflows from warmer storms would place levee systems in greater jeopardy of flooding.

- Some of the most dramatic climate change impacts will be experienced as increased freqeuncy and severity of extreme events, such as heat waves, wildfires, flooding, and conditions conducive to air pollution formation.

- Even under lower GHG emissions scenarios, some impacts of climate change are inevitable. As a result, although adaptation is not the solution to climate change, it is a necessary complementary stategy to manage some of the projected impacts.

- Although there are many opportunities for California to increase its capacity to cope with many climate change impacts, these can be costly, and they require time and planning.

- More analysis - and in some cases, more information - is needed to better understand the vulnerability of California's health, economy, and environment to climate change. In particular, greater attention must focus on social dimensions of climate change for both assessing and implementing the state's mitigative and adaptive potential. Critical to this work will be evaluating and addressing the distributional and equity implications of climate changes in California.


Full Article: http://www.energy.ca.gov/2005publications/CEC-500-2005-186/CEC-500-2005-186-SF.PDF

Last Updated: 2006-03-30

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