Last year the University of Nebraska, Lincoln came out with a report on the implications of climate change for the state. Are other state universities releasing similar studies for their states? Below are the key points for Nebraska as well as a link to the full report.
Past and Projected Changes in Nebraska’s Climate: Key Points
- Nebraska has experienced an overall warming of about 1°F since 1895, with warming trends that are highest in winter and spring and for the nighttime lows than for daytime highs. Since 1895, the length of the frost‐free season has increased by 5 to 25 days across Nebraska.
- Projected temperature changes for Nebraska range from an increase of 4‐5o F (low emission scenarios) to 8‐9°F (high emission scenarios) by the end of the twenty‐first century.
- the largest uncertainty in projecting climate change beyond the next few decades is in the greenhouse gas emission scenarios assumed and not because of climate model uncertainty.
- Under both low and high emissions scenarios, the number of high temperature stress days over 100°F is projected to increase substantially in Nebraska.
- the number of warm nights is expected to increase by an additional 20‐40.
- There is no observed trend in mean annual precipitation across Nebraska.
- increase in heavy rainfall events has been observed for portions of Nebraska.
- flood magnitude has been increasing because of this increase in heavy precipitation events.
- Little change in total annual precipitation is projected for Nebraska.
- increasing trend in heavy rainfall events is expected to continue.
- Soil moisture is projected to decrease by 5‐10% by the end of the century, if the high emissions scenario ensues. This can lead to enhanced drought conditions for Nebraska.
- A major concern for Nebraska is the large projected reduction in snowpack for the Rocky Mountains.
- summer flows in the Platte and Missouri rivers critically depend on the slow release of water as the snowpack melts and could be greatly reduced in coming years.
- The advent of large‐scale irrigation in Nebraska since the 1960s has kept the summertime climate in Nebraska cooler and wetter than it otherwise would have been.
- if reduced water availability curtails irrigation, the effects of global warming will be exacerbated.
- Projections are for increasing drought frequency and severity because of the combination of increased temperatures and increased seasonal variability in precipitation.
Some of these key points were highlighted at the “Gathering for the Planet” worship service hosted by First UMC, Omaha last month. The service was a chance to worship with folks from other faith traditions and affirm what our theologies teach us about God as Creator and human beings as stewards.
The service ended with this prayer from Pope Francis’ Laudato si’ encyclical --
All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth, so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle
for justice, love and peace.