Potential Impacts of Climate Change on Maryland

Here is a very short summation of some of the things that  scientists studying potential effects of climate change over the course of the remainder of this century say about impacts on Maryland (Worst cases are if greenhouse emissions continue the current trajectory of increase):

  1. Climate regimes will continue to vary across the state based on precipitation and temperature
  2. Temperature is expected to increase, especially average summer temperatures
  3. Average annual temperatures by 2050 are expected to increase unavoidably by 3 degrees F.
  4. Later this century, summer temperatures are projected to rise by 9 degrees F. accompanied by summer-long heatwaves if there are no checks on greenhouse gases.
  5. It is harder to make projections about precipitation than temperatures.
  6. Winter precipitation is expected to increase but in more episodic extreme events.
  7. With more intermittent precipitation combined with warmer temperatures, there would be more evaporation and the likelihood of weeks long summer droughts.
  8. Summer droughts may increase the demand for groundwater for irrigation, but replenishment of groundwater from intermittent precipitation will be difficult to counterbalance withdrawals.
  9. Climate models have noted a reductions in frost days and increase in warming days over the last half century.
  10. As the growing season lengthens and CO2 increases, crop production may initially increase, then decline due to heat stress and drought as the century wears on.

Effects on Flora and Fauna in Maryland

LAND

  • Pine trees will become dominant in our forests
  • Western Maryland’s maple-beech-birch forest will fade away
  • Timber production will decline due to drought, heat stress, and storms/fires.
  • Habitat changes will lead to declining biodiversity
  • At least 34 bird species will thereby be forced out of our region. Goodbye Baltimore Oriole.
  • Southern bird species more tolerant to certain conditions will replace them.

WATERS

  • Hundreds of square miles of wetlands and land will be inundated.
  • Sea-levels along Maryland shorelines would rise by a minimum of 1 ft by mid-century and 3 ft later in the century assuming current emission levels–at least 200 sq. mi additional newly inundated lands that would not offset losses of existing wetlands.
  • Restoration of the Chesapeake and Coastal Bays would be problematic with a greater increase of washed in nutrients and water quality impairment.
  • The current water species, a mix of cool water and warm water types will change with southern species proliferating and northern species would be eliminated.
  • More acidity in ocean water will affect shell formation of clams, oysters and other species.

Comprehensive Assessment of Climate Change Impacts

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