Impact of climate change

New Hampshire is already experiencing the effects of higher temperatures and rising sea levels. During the last decade, 18 ski areas increased snowmaking to ensure good snow conditions. While climate models vary for the northeast on the amount of temperature increase during the 21st century from 5-12 degrees F (2.7-4.2 degrees C) during the winter months, to 314 degrees F (1.7-7.8 degrees C) during the summer months. Anticipated rising sea levels (7-14 in., or 1736 cm., on the low end, and 10-23 in., or 25-58 cm. on the high end), is projected to increase shoreline erosion and wetland loss. Potential risks are more severe under the higher-emissions scenarios, with heat stress in cows decreasing milk production, and a climate no longer suitable for apples. Weeds and pests would proliferate. New Hampshire would lose winter tourism from skiing and snowmobiling. Under the lower-emissions scenario, changes would be less severe.

Among New Hampshire's most serious conservation problems is the destruction of forests by over-cutting. This practice eliminates an important source of state revenue, destroys the habitat of many animals, and increases the possibility of erosion and flood damage. For these reasons, the state aids in the preservation of forest areas by encouraging selective forest cutting through special tax provisions. Global climate change may have a positive impact on certain New Hampshire forest areas. Certain trees and forests may flourish due to longer growing seasons, more abundant carbon dioxide (CO2), and wet summers. White pine and red oak, two very profitable timber species in New Hampshire, could increase in number.

Health risks associated with rising temperatures include a potential increase in certain infectious diseases from water contamination or disease-carrying vectors such as mosquitoes, ticks, and rodents and heat-related illnesses. In addition, Portsmouth might expect to issue health advisories during summers to limit outdoor activity.

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