Global Warming:Early Warning Signs
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US Climate Impacts

"An increasing body of observations gives
a collective picture of a warming world
and other changes in the climate system."

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), 2001

Global Warming Hotspots Map

This map illustrates the local consequences of global warming.

FINGERPRINTS: Direct manifestations of a widespread and long-term trend toward warmer global temperatures
Heat waves and periods of unusually warm weather
Ocean warming, sea-level rise and coastal flooding
Glaciers melting
Arctic and Antarctic warming

HARBINGERS: Events that foreshadow the types of impacts likely to become more frequent and widespread with continued warming.
Spreading disease
Earlier spring arrival
Plant and animal range shifts and population changes
Coral reef bleaching
Downpours, heavy snowfalls, and flooding
Droughts and fires

The map of early warning signs clearly illustrates the global nature of climate changes. In its 2001 assessment, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that, ?an increasing body of observations gives a collective picture of a warming world and other changes in the climate system."

While North America and Europe—where the science is strongest—exhibit the highest density of indicators, scientists have made a great effort in recent years to document the early impacts of global warming on other continents. Our map update reflects this emerging knowledge from all parts of the world.

Although factors other than climate may have intensified the severity of some of the events on the map, scientists predict such problems will increase if emissions of heat-trapping gases are not brought under control.


The following organizations produced GLOBAL WARMING: Early Warning Signs:
Environmental Defense
Natural Resources Defense Council
Sierra Club
Union of Concerned Scientists
U.S. Public Interest Research Group
World Resources Institute
World Wildlife Fund

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