2016 is the Hottest Year on Record

The impact of climate change can be most readily observed in rising global and local air temperature. Tom Randall and Black Migliozzi of the Bloomberg Company created an animated graphic showing average global temperature since 1880. ​Departures from the 20th century average is shown in the bar graph at the bottom of the animation. 2016 was the hottest year on record at 1.69 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th century average. 2016 is also the third consecutive year to set a new above-normal temperature record. Sixteen of the 17 hottest years have occurred in the last 17 years, and temperatures are rising 10 times faster since the end of the last ice age.
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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

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

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.

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.