LEE COUNTY, Fla. — The latest data on climate change shows there’s no denying it. A report released Monday says climate change is unequivocally caused by humans.
The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change or IPCC projects temperatures increasing even more worldwide within the next two decades.
So, Win Everham, Environmental Studies Professor at Florida Gulf Coast University says it’s time to prepare.
“We’ve got to be prepared for the changes that are already happening, and at the same time try to figure out how to make the changes not so extreme,” he said.
He says the most obvious impact climate change is having on Southwest Florida is the rain pattern.
“If you design people on the landscape to be able to absorb 1-2 inches of rain, and you start getting six inches of rain - that’s what floods roads,” he said.
Fox 4 Meteorlogist Cindy Preszler says that flooding is caused by a few different things, more variable rain patterns and sea level rise.
“When these ice sheets melt, that adds more water to the oceans, Where does that water go? Well, it comes up along the shorelines. We have shoreline all around our state,” she said.
On top of flooding, the IPCC’s 3,000 page report says average temperatures worldwide could increase by 1.5 degrees Celsius within the next two decades.
“Since the ’80s, we’ve now seen 14 more days of temperatures above 77 degrees every year. That continues to rise,” she said.
Preszler says a few degrees difference here and there may not seem like much, but it could have a larger impact than you think.
“It affects crops. What’s going to be planted and where it’s going to be planted. It affects livestock. It’s affects insects. It affects migration, human population,” she said.
Canada was hit the hardest so far this summer, with officials in British Columbia cautioning hundreds of people died in June likely from extremely hot temps…reaching as high as 121 degrees in one day.
Everham says you can reduce your carbon footprint by carpooling, and cutting back on using man-made energy resources.