While the rain poured down at historic levels this April representatives from 20 federal regional and local agencies gathered in the U.S. General Services Agency (GSA) Headquarters in the District of Columbia to brainstorm strategies to lessen the impacts of both gradual changes in climate and more extreme weather events as a result climate change. The workshop hosted by the Council of Governments NASA National Capital Planning Commission Smithsonian GSA and U.S. Global Change Research Program focused on how to build climate resiliency into the workforce community and natural systems in the Washington region. Participants using their knowledge of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies projections for the Washington area and their professional expertise agreed that increased heavy precipitation more heat waves and sea level rise combined with storm surges were some of the most problematic changes that the region will face into the future many of which have already been observed.
Kara Reeve representing the National Wildlife Federation provided green approaches to climate resiliency while Dr. John Balbus of the U.S. Global Change Research Program and National Institutes of Health detailed climate health impacts ranging from increased pollen mosquitoes and heat and air quality impacts on vulnerable populations. He also noted how the Centers for Disease Control’s Climate Ready Cities and States program is helping health departments prepare for climate change.
The many headlines from April’s record rainfall may only become more common as climate change brings more precipitation in the heaviest events. The Third National Climate Assessment released on May 6 states that climate change is affecting Americans in every region of the U.S. and key sectors of the national economy. Participants expressed hope that more attention be paid to preparing the Nation’s Capital for the climate of the future to protect workforce productivity health and the trees and green spaces that are part of our National heritage. On this blog we covered the extensive local hazards of climate change – from the National Mall to Chesapeake Bay – and how we can prepare and adapt the National Capital Region for this global phenomenon.