Climate change comes at a cost

It’s hot in Texas, and it’s going to keep getting hotter in ways that affect everyday life. The subtle rise in temperatures is leading to a cascade of effects, ranging from increased health problems and infrastructure challenges to the way crops are grown in the state, according to Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon.”Texas temperatures have gone up by two degrees Fahrenheit on average already,” said Nielsen-Gammon, who also is director of the Southern Regional Climate Center at Texas A&M. “They’re continuing to go up decade by decade.” Increased temperatures mean rising ozone levels and increased air pollution, particularly in urban areas. That exacerbates asthma and other health problems, the A&M professor said. “Climate change has other consequences, such as increases in the intensity of precipitation, increases in the risk of wildfires,” Nielsen-Gammon said. “Also, the high temperatures increase water demand and put stress on water systems. Basically, there are a lot of things that are built for the climate we effectively used to have.” The climate scientist predicts a temperature change of 5 degrees or more by the time climate change is finally under control. “That’s the difference between, you know, every day in the summer being 95 degrees versus every day in the summer being 100 degrees,” Nielsen-Gammon said. Levi Long is a digital media major at Texas State University and an intern for Texas Community Health News, a collaboration between the School of Journalism and Mass Communication and the university’s Translational Health Research Center. TCHN stories, reports and data visualizations are provided free to Texas newsrooms.

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