Climate change data

  • Anthropogenic climate change has been driving regional climate shifts in the Playa Lakes Joint Venture zone since at least the mid 1970s. As a result, summers are becoming drier across the region and, in the northern and eastern regions, winters and springs are becoming wetter and warmer, while the southwestern and southern regions are drying out and potentially reaching “dust-bowl conditions” by mid-century. Throughout the area, extreme weather events are increasing in both severity and frequency with growing climate variability; floods and droughts in particular will become more frequent. Flooding and extreme precipitation events will elevate sedimentation runoff, effecting aquatic systems. Strong multiyear droughts will impact aquatic, terrestrial, and agricultural ecosystems severely. Ultimate wildlife impacts will be influenced by regional economic patterns and human land-use shifts, but many types of habitat will be transformed by mid century. Some may effectively be eliminated, while others will shift to the north and east. Most avian species are expected to respond with easterly shifts in migration patterns, changes in the timing of migration, and northerly shifts in overwintering and breeding ranges. However, not all species will respond at the same rate or in the same manner.

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