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  • Insights to key questions about climate change


  • This report presents extensive information from recently published findings related to the following two critical questions about climate change: andlt;ULandgt; andlt;LIandgt;What will the future climate be like? andlt;LIandgt;What will the effects be, both good and bad? andlt;/LIandgt;andlt;/ULandgt;Chapter 1 introduces the two main chapters of the report that provide insights to the above two critical questions about climate change. Chapter 2 provides examples from a wide spectrum of scientists, scientific organizations, and the media of contradictions and confusion about whether human-induced climate change is predictable over the time scale of a century. It then explains why such climate change is unpredictable in the traditional deterministic sense. It describes the climate system and documents improvements and remaining uncertainties of global climate models relevant to evaluating human-induced climate change on the century time scale. Climate measurements in Illinois since the mid-19th century document major climate swings not evident in a 50- to 100-year record. Illinois is no warmer or wetter today than it has been over the last 150 years, and extreme precipitation events across the country are reported to be no more frequent than they were a century ago. Important conclusions from these data are that i) regional climate trends over the past 50-100 years that are consistent with theoretical expectations of an enhanced greenhouse effect (for example, higher precipitation and more heavy rainfall events in northern mid-latitudes) do not necessarily establish causality; and ii) global warming has not resulted in warming in all parts of the globe. Chapter 3 focuses on the issue of economic impacts of weather and climate in the United States (US). The first section addresses known financial impacts of recent (1950-2000) weather and climate conditions. Descriptions follow of temporal trends of weather and climate extremes and their impacts, causes for on-going increases in economic impacts, and estimates of future financial impacts under a changed climate. The frequency of most types of storms and droughts either has not changed or has decreased during 1940-2000. Yet, losses (1997 dollars) for most storm types have increased over time. Possible causes for increased losses include a shift in climate related to global warming, questionable insurance practices, and aging infrastructure. Study also shows increasing losses due to societal factors, including population growth, more people residing in more weather vulnerable areas, shifts in business-product development that are weather sensitive, and growing wealth. Various studies of weather- and climate-induced economic impacts were used to develop national loss and gain estimates. Projections for the US, depending upon varying assumptions about the future climate (combinations of warmer, wetter, drier, or more storms), show annual climate-related losses ranging from $2 billion to $69 billion, and others estimate annual gains of $30 billion to $40 billion. In all cases, the projected outcomes are small in relation to the expected Gross Domestic Product.

Originally Deposited as: 999999994422

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Language(s): EN-English

Volume or Year: 2004
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Date Created: 9 24 2004
Date Last Modified: 4 16 2004

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1. Insights to key questions about climate change (20061005223805_ISWSIEM2004-01.pdf).
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