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Agriculture: Climate Change

Climate change refers to any significant change in the measures of climate lasting for an extended period of time. In other words, climate change includes major changes in temperature, precipitation, or wind patterns, among other effects, that occur over several decades or longer.

Global warming refers to the recent and ongoing rise in global average temperature near Earth's surface. It is caused mostly by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Global warming is causing climate patterns to change. However, global warming itself represents only one aspect of climate change.

Ozone is a gas that occurs both in the Earth's upper atmosphere and at ground level. Ozone can be "good" or "bad" for people's health and for the environment, depending on its location in the atmosphere.

Greenhouse gasses contribute to the greenhouse effect, an effect that occurs when greenhouse gasses absorb energy and trap heat in the Earth's surface. Greenhouse gasses are essential to keeping our planet warm but too many greenhouse gasses concentrated in the atmosphere can increase global temperatures.

Changes in ozone, greenhouse gasses and climate change affect agricultural producers greatly because agriculture and fisheries depend on specific climate conditions. Temperature changes can cause habitat ranges and crop planting dates to shift and droughts and floods due to climate change may hinder farming practices.

Climate Change Information from EPA:

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Climate Change Information from Other Sources

  • USDA - Climate Solutions - USDA is taking steps to create modern solutions to the challenge of climate change.
Climate change presents real threats to U.S. agricultural production, forest resources, and rural economies. These threats have significant implications not just for farmers, ranchers, and forest landowners, but for all Americans. Land managers across the country are already feeling the pressures of a changing climate and its effects on weather. As these risks continue and amplify, producers will be faced with the challenges of adapting. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack gave a speech in June, 2013 outlining the growing weather-related risks to farming, foresting and ranching.  USDA -Climate Solutions
 
  • USDA Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) Exit - Since 1988, the SARE grants and education program has advanced agricultural innovation that promotes profitability, stewardship of the land, air and water, and quality of life for farmers, ranchers and their communities.
  • USGS - Climate and Land Use Change Mission Area -The USGS is a science organization that provides impartial information on the health of our ecosystems and environment, the natural hazards that threaten us, the natural resources we rely on, the impacts of climate and land-use change, and the core science systems that help us provide timely, relevant, and useable information.

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