OBSERVED CLIMATE CHANGE AND TRANSPORTATION

In this paper the current instrumental evidence regarding climate variations and change during the Twentieth Century is reviewed. The questions addressed include: (1) what is the observational evidence for a changing climate, both globally and in the United States, and (2) what are the relevant results from the recently completed U.S. National Assessment examining the potential consequences of climate change in the U.S. Based on global near-surface temperature measurements for the Twentieth Century it is clear that a warming of approximately 0.6 deg C has occurred for the globe and a similar warming has occurred in the U.S. More importantly, however, are the observed asymmetric changes in daily maximum and minimum temperature, with the minimum temperatures increasing at a rate approximately twice that of the maximum temperature. Other temperature sensitive measures, such as glacial and snow cover extent reinforce the observed temperature trends. Examination of the hydrologic cycle indicates that changes also appear to be occurring, although less confidence can be placed on these analyses than those for temperature. Recent studies suggest that precipitation has increased in higher latitudes, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere. The final question regarding climate extremes is much more difficult to assess due to a lack of high temporal resolution climate databases. Of the few studies that have been performed, however, there is evidence that precipitation extremes, particularly heavy rainfall events, are increasing in the U.S., also suggesting an enhanced hydrologic cycle as the planet warms.

Language

  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Figures; References;
  • Pagination: 9p
  • Monograph Title: THE POTENTIAL IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON TRANSPORTATION: WORKSHOP SUMMARY AND PROCEEDINGS

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00962764
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Sep 2 2003 12:00AM