News Releases from Headquarters›Air and Radiation (OAR)
EPA Relaunches Climate Indicators Website Showing How Climate Change is Impacting Peoples’ Health and Environment
WASHINGTON (May 12, 2021) — For the first time in four years, EPA is relaunching its Climate Change Indicators in the United States website for the public. This comprehensive resource presents compelling and clear evidence of changes to our climate reflected in rising temperatures, ocean acidity, sea level rise, river flooding, droughts, heat waves, and wildfires, among other indicators. The site also features an enhanced user experience with interactive data-exploration tools offering a closer look at graphs, maps, and figures, along with an overview of the importance of indicators and how climate change can affect human health and the environment.
“EPA’s Climate Indicators website is a crucial scientific resource that underscores the urgency for action on the climate crisis,” said EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan. “With this long overdue update, we now have additional data and a new set of indicators that show climate change has become even more evident, stronger, and extreme – as has the imperative that we take meaningful action.”
The indicators show:
• Global Temperature - 2016 was the warmest year on record, 2020 was the second warmest, and 2010-2020 was the warmest decade on record since 1880, when thermometer-based observations began.
• Arctic Sea Ice - The September 2020 sea ice extent was the second smallest on record. It was more than 900,000 square miles less than the historical 1981–2010 average for that month—a difference three and half times the size of Texas.
• Ice Sheets - Since 1992, Greenland and Antarctica have both lost ice overall, each one losing more than 100 billion metric tons of ice per year on average and accounting for about one-third of observed global sea level rise between 2006 and 2015.
• Heat Waves in U.S. Cities - Heat waves are occurring more often across the United States. Their frequency has increased steadily, from an average of two heat waves per year during the 1960s to six per year during the 2010s.
• U.S. Sea Level - Sea level (relative to the land) rose along much of the U.S. coastline between 1960 and 2020, particularly the Mid-Atlantic coast and parts of the Gulf Coast, where some stations registered increases of more than 8 inches.
• Coastal Flooding – Tidal flooding is becoming more frequent at most locations along the East and Gulf Coasts.
• Length of the Growing Season – The average length of the growing season in the contiguous 48 states increased by more than two weeks since the beginning of the 20th century.
• Marine Species Distribution — In conjunction with warming ocean waters, many marine species off U.S. coasts are shifting northward and are moving to deeper waters. Shifts have occurred among several economically important fish and shellfish species.
EPA partners with more than 50 data contributors from various government agencies, academic institutions, and other organizations to develop the climate change indicators. Each indicator was peer reviewed by independent experts.
Information about Climate Change Indicators: https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators
Information about climate change: https://www.epa.gov/climate-change