Georgia’s Climate Change and Impact

Georgia is known for its humid subtropic climate. While most winters are short and moderate, the summers tend to be longer and hot. Climate of this magnitude has been said to have originated from the Atlantic Ocean which rests on the east coast where Georgia resides.

To understand climate change one must know that changes in the earth’s climate over time is changed by atmospheric and oceanic elements. Climate changes ultimately cause changes in the environment that the ecosystem and all living things must adapt to, because the energy balance is contingent upon the earth’s temperature and the water cycle.

The impact of climate change begins in its origins. According to Pam Knox, University of Georgia Extension Climatologist and Director of the UGA Weather Network, “The biggest climate change we are experiencing now is climate change due to increases in greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane, which trap energy near the surface of the earth and cause temperatures to increase on a global scale. We are also seeing those rising temperatures since the 1960s, and Georgia’s climate has increased by about 3 F since 1960.” Due to these conditions, overnight temperatures are increasingly lower than daytime high temperatures as a result of water vapor that occurs during hotter settings.

Knox suggests the most immediate thing people can do to prevent the rising temperatures is to cut down on emissions of greenhouse gases. This would include switching from fossil fuels to electricity, reducing food waste since that leads to methane emission, and eating in a way that reduces the emission of greenhouse gases from animal production, draining of wetlands, and the overuse of fertilizer. Using more electricity from solar power and other sources rather than from burning coal, and driving vehicles that are electric or more fuel efficient also reduces emissions.

It is important to note that science cannot affect climate change, but merely tell us what is likely to happen. The emissions we are experiencing now are built up in the atmosphere from 30 years ago according to Knox. Therefore, the emissions we are putting into the atmosphere now will take effect in the next 30 years.

What this means going forward is the rise in temperatures day and night will cause more heatwaves, floods, droughts (when there is no rain), and thunderstorms in Georgia. Knox believes individual action by people will help the climate change, but there is also the need of government to provide incentives to make these changes at a larger scale.