The Climate Challenge
Earth Day Retrospective: In 1983, the Council’s annual report highlighted the correlation between sulfur dioxide emissions and acid rain, the newly implemented automobile emissions program, and an Appendix with information on excessive atmospheric carbon dioxide and the “greenhouse effect”. Today the impacts of the “greenhouse effect” and climate change are being felt across the globe
The warming of Connecticut’s climate threatens to undo much of the environmental progress of past decades that is illustrated in these pages. Nearly every environmental indicator in the 2019 Annual Report has a tie to global warming. Because the global causes of the problem are exogenous, solutions must be also. Steps have been taken in Connecticut to strengthen Connecticut’s transition to a decarbonized economy and enhancing the state’s resiliency to the impacts of climate change. Executive Order No. 3 reestablishes and expands the work of the Governor’s Council on Climate Change (GC3) to include adaptation and resiliency, expands its membership, and directs DEEP and the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority to “analyze pathways and recommend strategies” for achieving a 100 percent zero carbon target in the electric sector by 2040.
The changes in Connecticut’s climate are creating compatible loci for invasive species, like the Asian tiger mosquito, emerald ash borer, and others. These, and others likely to follow will have negative economic, ecological, and public health impacts. Native animals and plants will diminish as their habitat transforms. This is already evident in the near collapse of Connecticut’s lobster harvest. Foresters predict eventual reduction in the population of iconic New England species like oaks upon which very many forest species depend.
Annual average temperature, precipitation, and cooling degree days (CDD) have increased since 1960; heating degree days (HDD) have decreased.
“Degree days are defined as the number of degrees by which the average daily temperature is higher than 65°F (cooling degree days) or lower than 65°F (heating degree days). Degree days reflect changes in climate and are used as a proxy for the energy demand for heating or cooling buildings.” – GlobalChange.gov
Annual average HDD have decreased by approximately 11 percent while CDD have increased by approximately 23 percent since 1960.
Both average annual precipitation and the annual number of days with precipitation over one inch has been increasing
The average annual precipitation since 1960 is 45.7 inches and the number of days annually with precipitation over one inch has increased by approximately 18 percent since 1960.
Both the average annual temperature and the annual number of days over 90oF increased by approximately 4.7 percent since 1960.
The average annual temperature since 1960 is 50.4 degrees Fahrenheit (°F) and the average number of days annually with temperatures greater than 90 °F is 14.9. However, since 2000, the average number of 90+°F days has increased to 15.8.
Technical Notes: All weather data is for the weather station at Bradley International Airport (BDL).