It Isn’t Just People

Sharing an understanding of the heat wave that just hit us in Berkeley with people who don’t live on the coast has been a frustrating experience. Weeks of highs in the 80s and 90s, lows in the 60s, doesn’t look all that bad to people for whom summer always means warmth.

But plants and animals along the California coast settled in for the long haul — or a seasonal visit — in a climate without summer water but with highs rarely going above the high-60s or mid-70s in summer — yes, there would be a day or two during the summer of 100 or high-90s, but it didn’t last through the night. (October used to be our warm season on the coast.)

I expect that when the final count is taken, more than 100 Californians, and an enormous number of cows. will be dead. It will not be surprising if we see regional species extinction as well.

The Oakland Tribune quotes Peter Glieck, co-founder and president of the Oakland-based Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment & Security:

I’ve been thinking about climate change for a long time. But even I’m a little bit shaken by the extent to which we’re seeing climate impacts in so many different ways, and in ways many of us didn’t expect.

I don’t see any good news.

The SF Chronicle article Climate change seen hurting national parks looks at a report on what may happen to Western National Parks. Temperature increases to date in the West, 3 F since 1900, are double the increases for the US as a whole (and triple increases worldwide — oceans are warming more slowly).

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