Climate Change Expected Impact on Great Plains

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Climate Change Expected Impact on Great Plains The Great Plains, spanning from Canada to Mexico, has a varied climate across the region. Northern portions experience bitter cold winters, southern portions experience scorching summers, western portions are semi-arid, and eastern portions are much more dry. With populations increasing in the Great Plains, the region becomes much more susceptible to impacts of climate change. Due to climate change water resources, agriculture, population, and ecosystems will all be impacted in the Great Plains region. * Impacts on Water Resources The Great Plains’ water is provided by the Ogallala aquifer, supplying more than 80% of drinking and irrigation water. With growth in population, agriculture, and the economy, demand for water has increased. This influx of growth has caused the use of water in the region to surpass the recharge rate causing the level of the aquifer to drop. If these practices continue and other resources are not found, then temperatures will increase, droughts will be more frequent, and higher rates of evaporation are to put more strain on the water supply. * Impacts on Agriculture The region’s economy depends on crops; the majority of the Great Plains is used for agriculture. With temperatures increasing, extreme heat, and droughts becoming more frequent, the aptness for certain Great Plains’ crops will change. Livestock will also be put under heat stress and are more at risk for disease. Poor agricultural land management combined with drought can also cause many disastrous events, for example the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. With expected warming temperatures and constant burdens on water and land resources, negative impacts will certainly affect the agriculture. * Impacts on Vulnerable Populations The Great Plains has many older people living in rural areas and Native Americans living on
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