by Alicia Pimental
October 01, 2008
A new independent report released by the Bay Program's Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee shows the Bay ecosystem will be significantly impacted by climate change during the next century.
Climate Change and the Chesapeake Bay: State-of-the-Science Review and Recommendations details the potential consequences of global warming for the Bay over the next 100 years and explains the need to adapt restoration to account for the environmental changes.
The report outlines several consequences of anticipated climate changes, including:
- Increased coastal flooding and submergence of wetlands
- Growth of harmful algae
- Loss of underwater bay grasses
- Conditions that favor warm-water fish and shellfish
"It is difficult to imagine any aspect of the Chesapeake Bay –- biological, chemical or physical –- that will be unaffected by climate change, particularly if society continues the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions,” said Dr. Raymond Najjar, associate professor of meteorology at Penn State University and an author of the report.
According to the report, the Bay’s functioning will be affected by:
- Increasing carbon dioxide concentrations
- Rising sea levels
- Elevating water temperatures
Climate Change and the Chesapeake Bay was written by the Bay Program’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC), a group of prominent scientists and experts that provide guidance on restoring and protecting the Bay and its watershed.
To factor climate change into restoration efforts and natural resource management, STAC scientists have recommended the Bay Program partnership develop a climate change action plan.