In the absence of effective avoidance, mitigation, minimization and adaptation, climate-related failures will result in greater difficulty in addressing the priority problems identified in the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP) Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP): hydrologic alteration, water quality degradation, fish and wildlife habitat loss, and stewardship gaps. This study examines the current climate and ongoing climate change in southwest Florida along with five future scenarios of climate change into the year 2200. These scenarios include:
- a condition that involves a future in which mitigative actions are undertaken to reduce the human influence on climate change (Stanton and Ackerman 2007),
- a 90% probable future predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 2007b),
- a 50% probable future predicted by IPCC,
- a 5% probable future predicted by the IPCC, and
- a ―very worst‖ future in which no actions are taken to address climate change (Stanton and Ackerman 2007).
This fifth scenario also corresponds with some of the other worst Vulnerability Assessment 2 September 15, 2009 case scenarios postulated by scientists who think the IPCC estimations are under-estimated (USEPA CRE 2008). This report also assesses significant potential climate changes in air and water and the effects of those changes on climate stability, sea level, hydrology, geomorphology, natural habitats and species, land use changes, economy, human health, human infrastructure, and variable risk projections, in southwest Florida. Among the consequences of climate change that threaten estuarine ecosystem services, the most serious involve interactions between climate-dependent processes and human responses to those climate changes.