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Climate Change Indicators in the United States

Multiple lines of evidence reveal the far-reaching impacts of climate change on the people and environment of the United States. Tracking observations over time reveals valuable data about what people are experiencing today. These data can help guide climate actions that are effective, equitable, and will address challenges into the future. Understanding and addressing climate change is critical to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) mission of protecting human health and the environment.

A Roadmap to This Report

Climate Change Indicators in the United States is the fifth edition of a report first published by EPA in 2010. This report is intended to help readers understand how climate change has affected and continues to affect the United States, the magnitude and significance of the changes, and their possible consequences for people, the environment, and society. This report presents highlights from 39 of EPA’s total of 57 indicators, supported by an extensive review of relevant scientific literature. It has eight chapters:

Greenhouse Gases
As greenhouse gas emissions from human activities increase, they build up in the atmosphere and warm the climate, leading to many other changes around the world—in the atmosphere, on land, and in the oceans. The indicators presented in other chapters of this report and on EPA’s website illustrate many of these changes and their effects on people, society, and the environment.

Heat on the Rise
As the concentrations of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere continue to increase, the United States has experienced warming temperatures, more unusually hot summer days, and more frequent heat waves that threaten people’s health and strain the electric power grid.

Extreme Events
Rising global average temperature is associated with widespread changes in weather patterns. Extreme events such as heavy rainstorms, hurricanes, floods, droughts, and wildfires have happened throughout history, but human-induced climate change is expected to make these events more frequent and/or intense. While risks vary across the country, these events are among the nation’s costliest disasters, sometimes causing great damage to ecosystems, communities, and the economy.

Sources:

https://www.epa.gov/system/files/documents/2024-07/climate_indicators_2024.pdf

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