The impact of climate change on North Carolina

Earth's climate is warming and its impacts are already being felt in North Carolina.

Climate Central, a non-profit news and science communication organization, reports and analyzes climate change and its impacts across the world.

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The white line shows the average annual temperature for the Triangle from 1970 to 2020. The trend is a clear increase in the annual average temperature for the region. This warm trend is primarily caused by humans emitting copious amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

The Earth will continue to warm over the next several decades but it will do so less dramatically if there are significant cuts to greenhouse gas emissions globally.

Climate change is not simply a futuristic threat. We are already seeing some of the impacts here in North Carolina.

Dr. Baker Perry, professor of geography and planning at Appalachian State, says: "in North Carolina we're seeing impacts from sea level rise (and) impacts from increased hurricane intensity."

"We're seeing increases in temperature and that includes warm nights and this is across the state," he added. "And we're seeing increases in extreme precipitation. The devastating floods from Hurricane Fred in Haywood county in the western part of the state were one of the latest examples of these trends in increases of extreme precipitation."

Dr. Perry says we can expect to see more of these extreme events especially if humans continue to emit fossil fuels at the same rate.
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