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2013-08-08. Agency finds climate change taking toll on California.

posted Aug 8, 2013, 1:23 PM by Alan Gould
For GSS Climate Change chapter 8. Excerpt: California lakes are warming, sea levels are rising, wildfires are spreading, and mountain plants and animals are migrating to higher ground as the impact of climate change takes hold throughout the state, a new report says. The evidence of the effects of the warming trend emerged in an analysis of 36 "indicators" - warning signs of changes - that are detailed in the 240-page report released Wednesday by the state's Environmental Protection Agency. ..."The combined impact described by the indicators is dramatic," said Matthew Rodriquez, California's secretary for environmental protection, whose agency specialists prepared the report. "The science is clear that we're already seeing significant changes in every part of the state," he said Wednesday. "If you look at these indicators, you can't really debate that climate change, and its impact, is here." ..."Sea-level rise could lead to flooding of low-lying areas, loss of coastal wetlands, erosion of coastal beaches, saltwater contamination of groundwater aquifers and impacts on roads, sewage treatment plants and other coastal infrastructure," the report warns. ...The annual average acres burned by California wildfires in the dozen years since 2000 (598,000 acres) is more than double the acreage burned in the 50 years between 1950 and 2000 (264,000 acres). ...A study on Southern California's Santa Rosa Mountains shows that dominant plant species have moved upward - by an average of 213 feet over the past 30 years. And in the Sierra Nevada, the lower edge of conifer-dominated forests has been retreating upslope for the past 60 years.... http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Agency-finds-climate-change-taking-toll-on-4716422.php. David Perlman, San Francisco Chronicle.