Global Warming in the Free State

This comprehensive climate change impact assessment was developed to support adaptation planning in the state of Maryland. It was prepared by a Scientific and Technical Working Group, by leading experts in the state in climate change and its impacts, including experts from the University of Maryland.  This assessment informed development of the state's Phase II Adaptation Strategy, A Comprehensive Strategy for Reducing Maryland's Vulnerability to Climate Change.

The assessment makes the following key findings about how climate change will affect the state of Maryland:

  • Average air temperatures will increase by about 3˚F by mid-century, with average summer temperatures increasing by as much as 9˚F. 
  • The number of extreme heat days will double or even triple by the end of the century (days with air temperatures exceeding 90˚F).
  • Precipitation is anticipated to increase during the spring and winter months, but extended droughts may become more common in summer months.
  • More intense rainfall events will increase with increases in water pollution in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.
  • More powerful storms could affect the state with higher potential for storm surges and heavy rainfall events.  
  • Sea-level rise will inundate hundreds of square miles of wetlands and other low-lying areas.
  • The Chesapeake Bay could warm by an additional 5-9˚F by the end of the century.
  • More run off and higher water temperatures will further degrade water quality and ecosystems in the Chesapeake Bay.
  • Warming air temperatures and increase risk of drought will affect crop and poultry production.
  • Maryland forests may be affected by drought and increased incidence of pests and forest fires.  
  • Heat-related illnesses and deaths will increase for at-risk populations (such as the poor, elderly, and those with illnesses)
  • Respiratory illnesses will be exacerbated by air pollution worsened by higher temperatures.

Publication Date: July 2008

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