California is feeling the effects of climate change far and wide, as heat-trapping greenhouse gases reduce spring runoff from the Sierra Nevada, make the waters of Monterey Bay more acidic and shorten winter chill periods required to grow fruit and nuts in the Central Valley, a new report says.
Though past studies have offered grim projections of a warming planet, the report released Thursday by the California Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment took an inventory of three dozen shifts that are already happening.
"The nature of these changes is that they're occurring gradually, but the impacts are significant and growing," said Sam Delson, a spokesman for the health hazard assessment office, a branch of the California Environmental Protection Agency.
Among the effects detailed in the report: The number of acres burned by wildfires in California has been increasing since 1950, with the three worst fire seasons occurring in the last decade. Sea surface temperatures at La Jolla have risen by about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over the last century, twice as much as the global average. Glaciers in the Sierra Nevada are shrinking, and water in lakes, including Lake Tahoe and Mono Lake, has warmed over the last few decades.