Climate change is a long-term shift in weather patterns and temperatures. These shifts are caused by natural phenomenon like variations in solar cycles and/or human activities like production of greenhouse gases. Since the 1800s, human activities—primarily the use of fossil fuels—have become the main driver of climate change. Burning of fossil fuels like coal, oil and gas generate greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane. These gases act like a blanket wrapped around the earth that traps the sun’s heat and results in rise of the temperatures on earth. https://www.un.org/en/climatechange/what-is-climate-change
Climate change in Arizona and the southwest region has contributed to increased heat, drought, and water shortages. Adverse challenges include increases in the numbers and severity of wildfires, heat-related health illnesses and deaths, declining the water supplies, poor air and water quality, and reduced agricultural yields. https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/chapter/25/
What are some things you can do today to help mitigate the climate crisis?
- Use less energy or switch to renewable energy at home
- Walk, bike, or use public transportation
- Eat more vegetables
- Throw away less food
- Reduce, reuse, repair, recycle
- Switch to hybrid or electric vehicles
- Learn more about climate trends and their impacts where you live to identify ways you can stay safe and healthy, especially during the hot summertime months
To stay up to date about weather and climate-related trends in Arizona, check out the Climate Assessment for the Southwest, which produces seasonal Southwest Climate Outlooks < https://www.climas.arizona.edu/swco> and the Southwest Climate Podcasts < https://www.climas.arizona.edu/media/podcasts>.
Also, don’t miss the Come Rain or Shine < https://rainorshine.buzzsprout.com/> podcast that shares and discusses the most recent advances in climate science, weather and climate adaptation, and innovative practices to support resilient landscapes and communities. This podcase is hosted by the Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center < https://www.swcasc.arizona.edu/> and the USDA Southwest Climate Hub < https://www.climatehubs.usda.gov/hubs/southwest>.
What to learn more about the climate in your county? Check out the USDA Southwest Climate Hub’s Climate Quick Reference Guides < https://www.climatehubs.usda.gov/hubs/southwest/topic/climate-quick-reference-guides-your-county>.