T.The US Environmental Protection Agency’s Climate Change Indicators website, which explains various facets of our increasingly warming planet, has been inactive since late 2016, just before Donald Trump became president. Yesterday (May 12), Michael Regan, EPO Administrator announced that the website had restarted. It includes data from a 2017 report that was delayed and then downplayed by the Trump administration.
“The EPA’s climate indicators website is an important scientific resource that underscores the urgency of action to tackle the climate crisis,” the Regan agency said in a statement. “With this long overdue update, we now have additional data and a number of new indicators that show that climate change has become even clearer, stronger and more extreme – as well as the need to take meaningful action.”
On the main page, the website lists human activity as one of the causes of climate change. According to the BBCThis is the first time the agency has directly recognized the role that people play and continue to play, despite experts in the field having agreed for almost a century.
The updated information isn’t good news when it comes to some of the most popular indicators. 2016 was the warmest year on record, followed by 2020. Heat-related deaths have tripled in the past 80 years. Since 1960, sea levels have risen as much as 8 inches in some areas along the east and Gulf coasts, making devastating floods more common. Alaska’s permafrost continues to decline. And some marine species are being displaced due to rising temperatures, while others are being severely damaged by ocean acidification.
The data illustrates how climate change affects and will affect all Americans, albeit in different ways depending on where they live. For example, the warming climate has lengthened farmers’ growing season by two weeks, especially in western states. Across the country, some of the oldest coastal cities to be settled long before the Industrial Revolution, like Boston, are grappling with increased costs of warding off the rising coast. The Washington Post Reports.
“We want to reach people in every corner of this country because there is no small town, city or rural community that is not affected by the climate crisis,” says Regan post. “Americans see and feel the effects at close range with increasing regularity.”
In addition to the updates to the indicators from the previous iteration of the site, there are a dozen additions, including seasonal temperature, Great Lakes ice cover, freeze-thaw conditions, and more.
The data on the website has been compiled from 50 different sources in both government and academia. The EPA’s statement states that independent experts have peer-reviewed all indicators.
“This website does an excellent job of compiling many indicators from many different sources,” said Kristina Dahl, a senior climate researcher at the Union of Concerned Scientists post. “So it’s a really important clearinghouse for that kind of information.”