Effects – NASA Science


Future effects of global climate change in the United States:

  • U.S. Sea Level Likely to Rise 1 to 6.6 Feet by 2100

    Global sea level has risen about 8 inches (0.2 meters) since reliable record-keeping began in 1880. By 2100, scientists project that it will rise at least another foot (0.3 meters), but possibly as high as 6.6 feet (2 meters) in a high-emissions scenario. Sea level is rising because of added water from melting land ice and the expansion of seawater as it warms.

    Image credit: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0

  • Climate Changes Will Continue Through This Century and Beyond

    Global climate is projected to continue warming over this century and beyond.

    Image credit: Khagani Hasanov, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0

  • Hurricanes Will Become Stronger and More Intense

    Scientists project that hurricane-associated storm intensity and rainfall rates will increase as the climate continues to warm.

    Image credit: NASA

  • More Droughts and Heat Waves

    Droughts in the Southwest and heat waves (periods of abnormally hot weather lasting days to weeks) are projected to become more intense, and cold waves less intense and less frequent.

    Image credit: NOAA

  • Longer Wildfire Season

    Warming temperatures have extended and intensified wildfire season in the West, where long-term drought in the region has heightened the risk of fires. Scientists estimate that human-caused climate change has already doubled the area of forest burned in recent decades. By around 2050, the amount of land consumed by wildfires in Western states is projected to further increase by two to six times. Even in traditionally rainy regions like the Southeast, wildfires are projected to increase by about 30%.

  • Changes in Precipitation Patterns

    Climate change is having an uneven effect on precipitation (rain and snow) in the United States, with some locations experiencing increased precipitation and flooding, while others suffer from drought. On average, more winter and spring precipitation is projected for the northern United States, and less for the Southwest, over this century.

    Image credit: Marvin Nauman/FEMA

  • Frost-Free Season (and Growing Season) will Lengthen

    The length of the frost-free season, and the corresponding growing season, has been increasing since the 1980s, with the largest increases occurring in the western United States. Across the United States, the growing season is projected to continue to lengthen, which will affect ecosystems and agriculture.

  • Global Temperatures Will Continue to Rise

    Summer of 2023 was Earth’s hottest summer on record, 0.41 degrees Fahrenheit (F) (0.23 degrees Celsius (C)) warmer than any other summer in NASA’s record and 2.1 degrees F (1.2 C) warmer than the average summer between 1951 and 1980.

    Image credit: NASA

  • Arctic Is Very Likely to Become Ice-Free

    Sea ice cover in the Arctic Ocean is expected to continue decreasing, and the Arctic Ocean will very likely become essentially ice-free in late summer if current projections hold. This change is expected to occur before mid-century.

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