Climate Change Preparedness Plan for the North Olympic Peninsula
It is increasingly apparent that the global climate is rapidly changing and that these changes will affect the people, ecosystems, economy, and culture of the North Olympic Peninsula. The most noticeable impacts will likely include:
- A diminishing snowpack lowering the region’s summer river flow and extending the summer drought season;
- Shifts in the timing and type of precipitation, creating rain on snow events and unseasonably high stream flows that scour river bottoms and flood low-land areas;
- Ongoing sea level rise driving coastal flooding, saltwater inundation, and enhanced shoreline erosion;
- Extended warm temperatures which result in increased river water temperatures, enhanced wildfire risk, decreased soil moisture, and stressed forests through disease and insect outbreaks; and
- Increasingly corrosive ocean waters (i.e. ocean acidification) from the ongoing absorption of human emissions of CO2.
These changes will affect the natural resources and livelihoods of the people of the North Olympic Peninsula, as well as the entire regional economy.