Is climate change ruining summer? That's the question an outreach coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation had for Pittsburgh this morning, timing it with the release of a report by the national group, Ruined Summer: How Climate Change Scorched the Nation in 2012.
Gathered under the Roberto Clemente bridge in the morning sun Thursday with representatives from the local food industry, the environmental groups GASP and Penn Future and the recreational nonprofit Venture Outdoors, NWF's Ed Perry warned that high summer temperatures are the result of climate change, and are having an impact on recreational activities and local wildlife.
"This wacky weather we've been experiencing is going to become the new norm," he says.
Neil Stauffer, general manager of the Penn's Corner Farm Alliance, says farmers are noticing the effects of recent temperature fluctuations on the produce they grow.
"Obviously I'm not an expert and only have anecdotal evidence from what the farmers tell me .. [but] something's obviously changing, and a lot of us feel stumped," he says.
Rachel Filippini, executive director of GASP, noted that in Allegheny County, ozone levels exceeded the standard 75 parts per billion on 20 days so far this summer. Measurements for ozone levels began April 1 and end September 30.
"There were only 12 days [in excess] recorded in Allegheny County in 2011," she says.