A rugged, whitewater river flowing northward through deep canyons, the New River is among the oldest rivers on the continent. New River Gorge National River in West Virginia encompasses over 70,000 acres of land along the New River, is rich in cultural and natural history, and offers an abundance of scenic and recreational opportunities.
Big Southern Butte is one of two domes rising from a sea of basalt near the center of the eastern Snake River Plain in Idaho. The butte is one of the largest volcanic domes in the world, but at 300,000 years old it is also one of the youngest. Hikers who trek to the 7,550-foot high summit are rewarded with spectacular panoramic views. Photo by Devin Englestead, BLM Upper Snake Wildlife Biologist.
First light at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. Established in November 22, 1939, the refuge has provided a critical stopover and wintering spot for thousands of sandhill cranes, geese and other waterfowl for 75 years. Bosque del Apache's sandhill crane population has multiplied from 18 birds in the 1840s to more than 20,000 birds today. Photo by Kim Hang Dessoliers (www.sharetheexperience.org).
DOINews: Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment Report Released
HONOLULU (December 4, 2012)—The Pacific Islands Regional Climate Assessment (PIRCA) today released its first report, Climate Change and Pacific Islands: Indicators and Impacts (Island Press). The report highlights the findings of more than 100 scientists and other experts who assessed the state of knowledge about climate change and its impacts on the Hawaiian archipelago and the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands. The report also examines the adaptive capacity of island communities in the region.
"Climate change is real, and it's already having an impact on Hawai‘i and throughout the Pacific,” said Hawai‘i Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz, who leads the state's clean energy efforts and Asia Pacific relations. “We islanders must make the necessary preparations for warmer, unstable weather. It will affect every aspect of our society and economy, including agriculture, real estate and tourism. The time is now for serious change."
Among the major concerns for Pacific Islands discussed in the report are:
Decreased freshwater supplies in the future
Higher air temperatures, especially at high elevations
Higher sea-surface temperatures causing coral bleaching and linked to the increased prevalence of certain coral diseases
Threats to traditional lifestyles of indigenous Pacific Island communities
Rising sea levels, causing coastal flooding and erosion that are likely to damage coastal infrastructure and agriculture, impact tourism, and negatively affect ecosystems and endangered species.
“The effects of climate change are already being seen across the Pacific, and now the PIRCA report provides a foundation for prioritizing adaptation measures,” said Dr. Victoria Keener, East-West Center Fellow and Lead Editor for the report. “The report is a truly collaborative effort, incorporating many perspectives to create a clear picture of what is known about climate change in the Pacific Islands to date, and what we still need to study."
Free Public Forum Dec. 10
To highlight and discuss the report's findings, PIRCA will hold a free public forum on Monday, December 10 from 9:00 AM to noon at the Hawai'i Imin International Conference Center, 1777 East-West Road, Honolulu. Lieutenant Governor Brian Schatz will give an opening address, followed by a presentation on PIRCA's findings and a panel discussion with leaders from diverse sectors across Hawai'i and the Pacific region. Please visit http://tinyurl.com/pircaforum to RSVP for this event.
The 2012 PIRCA report is one in a series of technical contributions to the 2013 National Climate Assessment (NCA). The NCA is conducted under the auspices of the Global Change Research Act of 1990, which requires a report to the US President and Congress every four years on the status of climate change science and impacts. The 2012 PIRCA and the 2013 NCA will inform the nation about already observed changes and anticipated trends. Policymakers will use the NCA to set federal science priorities. Government agencies, communities, and businesses will utilize both reports to make decisions and plans for the future.
Primary responsibility for the PIRCA report is shared by the Pacific Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (Pacific RISA) program, funded by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and supported by the East-West Center; NOAA's National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) and National Climatic Data Center (NCDC); the Pacific Climate Information System (PaCIS); and the Pacific Islands Climate Change Cooperative (PICCC),funded by the Department of Interior's US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, and US Geological Survey. Climate Change and Pacific Islands: Indicators and Impacts is available for download at www.EastWestCenter.org/PIRCA and hardcopies are available upon request through Pacific RISA. For more information, please contact info@PacificRISA.org.