Updated: 7:29 p.m. Wednesday, July 11, 2007 | Posted: 5:43 p.m. Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Report Released On Effects Of Global Warming In Pennsylvania
High Temps Will Effect Everything From Health To Farming
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, global warming has already changed Pennsylvania’s climate.
A report released by the group says the average temperatures in the Northeast are one and a half degrees higher than in 1970.
The groups study said if fossil fuel emissions aren't cut, Pennsylvania will look very different by the end of the century.
The study said between 1961 and 1990, Pittsburgh had one day of temperatures of 100 degrees or higher. If emissions are not cut, the group projects Pittsburgh will have 24 days of temperatures that are over 100 degrees and as many as 60 days with temperatures above 90 degrees.
Dr. Jerry Melillo is director of the Ecosystems Center at the Marine Biological Lab in Woods Hole, Mass.
Speaking in Pittsburgh, Melillo said those high temperatures will affect our health, farming, forests, and winter recreation.
Dr. Lewis Ziska from the Department of Agriculture also spoke Wednesday .
Ziska said cows produce the best in temperatures ranging between 40 and 70 degrees. He said, “Temperatures above that will result in decline in dairy production. “
He said in 2005, heat stress caused the diary industry to lose over $40 million .
Ziska said the higher temperatures will also change the kind of crops grown in Pennsylvania.
Peach and melon crops may benefit, but blueberry and apples will not. That’s because those fruits need to get a certain amount of chilling in order to flower the following spring.
According to Melillo, skiing and other winter sports may be a thing of the past, “With respect to snowmobiling we think that would be something in people's memory, a historical event, because snow on ground in Pennsylvania would last for a very short time.”
Nancy Cole, director of climate outreach at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said, “It’s not just polar bears and the Greenland ice cap, it’s what’s happening right here on farms in Pennsylvania, it’s what’s happening to kids right here in Pittsburgh.”
Unless emissions are reduced, seasonal pollen production will accelerate, extending the allergy season and making allergy and asthma symptoms worse.
Right now generating electricity is responsible for 40 percent of emissions in Pennsylvania.
The scientists say if emissions are cut by 3 percent a year over the next several decades, global warming can be dramatically slowed down.
Pennsylvania has taken steps to reduce emission. The state adopted California’s standards requiring reductions in vehicle tailpipe emissions and supports wind energy.
Pittsburgh also has the distinction of having the most green certified buildings east of the Mississippi River.