Global Climate Change

Cause

  • Higher CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere cause warmer global air temperatures (other powerful greenhouse gases include water vapor, methane, and nitrous oxide)

Effect

  • Fewer extreme cold days
  • Droughts and heatwaves
  • More frequent and larger precipitation events
  • More powerful storms
  • Decreased annual snowfall
  • Reduce snow cover duration (e.g. earlier spring)
  • Earlier lake ice-out
  • Rise in sea level
  • Melting ice sheets

Note: some areas around the globe may experience warmer air temperatures and extreme drought, while other areas may experience cooler air temperatures and extreme precipitation.

Impact

  • Reduction in coldwater fish populations and aquatic bird species
  • Increased threat from invasive species, pathogens, and insects, including rise of new vector-borne diseases
  • Reduction in agricultural yield and plant diversity
  • Shifts in habitat ranges of native species
  • Flooding that damages crops, forests, and infrastructure
  • Decreased water quality
  • Increased risk of forest fires

Climate Change in Maine

Climate change is threatening the current balance of ecological systems across the globe.

In Maine, we can expect the following:

  • warmer air temperatures
  • more intense and frequent precipitation events
  • increased flooding
  • reduced snow cover duration
  • enhanced species migration and extirpation
  • earlier lake ice-out

These climate change effects will likely cause the following:

  • increase the incidence of Lyme disease
  • alter the maple syrup season
  • reduce moose populations
  • degrade water quality
  • foster pine needle blight
  • damage infrastructure
  • threaten winter recreational businesses
  • generate uncertain farming conditions

The following graphics from Maine’s Climate Future (2015 Update) showcase the major climate change effects that are causing innumerable consequences on the environmental, economic, and social well-being of the State of Maine.