CSPP Paper examines if there is a Human Footprint in Florida’s Climate History

By | July 19, 2007

Introduction

Florida’s governor Charlie Crist opened his 2007 legislative session by announcing Florida’s Climate Change Summit to be held July 12-13 in Miami. Governor Crist remarked, “I am persuaded that global climate change is one of the most important issues that we will face this century. With almost 1,200 miles of coastline and the majority of our citizens living near that coastline, Florida is more vulnerable to rising ocean levels and violent weather patterns than any other state.”

In this report, we review the history of the observed climate and climate trends in Florida and look for evidence that global climate changes caused by anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide are adversely impacting the denizens of Florida.

This is a useful exercise since levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are already three-quarters of the way towards an effective doubling of carbon dioxide concentrations, the benchmark typically used in making global warming predictions. If global warming predictions are true, then the consequences of global warming should already be evident in the climate data.

As we will show, that evidence is hard to come by. The rate of sea level rise observed along Florida’s coastline is little changed for the past century or more, hurricane landfalls show marked interdecadal variability but little to no overall trend, Florida’s population is well adapted to high temperatures and shows no ill-effects resulting from heat waves, and statewide average temperature, precipitation, and moisture conditions fluctuate from year-to year but indicate no long-term tendencies.”

The full paper can be found here: http://ff.org/centers/csspp/pdf/20070709_florida.pdf