New Hampshire is vulnerable to increasing temperatures, floods and droughts, and a shorter winter
New Hampshire’s climate has already warmed by two or three degrees Fahrenheit in the last century. Increasing temperatures are causing spring to arrive earlier, bringing more precipitation and more frequent storms as well as drier and hotter summers. Rising sea levels threaten the stability of housing and infrastructure projects, as well as increasing the likelihood for flooding which can harm ecosystems, disrupt farming, and pose an increasing risk to human health.
- Increasing temperatures: Extreme heat will increase in the Northeast region. Currently a temperate region in the summer, the region can expect to see an increase of “extremely hot” days. On average, there are only 2.6 days a year over 95 degrees Fahrenheit now, but that number could increase to by 5-16 additional days by midcentury and jump to 15-57 additional days by the end of the century. Increasingly hot summers will have negative impacts on health, mortality, and labor productivity.
- Floods and droughts: Annual precipitation in the Northeast has increased about 10 percent from 1895 to 2011, and precipitation from extremely heavy storms has increased 70 percent since 1958. Increasing variability in precipitation will likely cause more flooding in the winter and spring, and more drought in the summer and fall.
- Shorter winter: New Hampshire’s winter recreation industry is vulnerable to shorter winters with less snow. This could have economic impacts on industries like snowboarding, skiing, and snowmobiling, potentially harming the local economies that depend on them.
- Sea Level Rise: According to a Risky Business Report, the Northeast region in general could experience anywhere from 1 to 7 feet of sea level rise by the end of the century. Portsmouth, NH could experience 6.3 feet rise by 2100. The heightened water levels will increase storm-related property damage by $11-$22 billion in the same time period.
- Extreme precipitation: stands to cause the largest impact on the Northeast. The region has experienced a greater recent increase in extreme precipitation than any other part of the United States. From 1958 to 2010, the Northeast experienced more than a 70% increase in the amount of precipitation falling in very heavy events.
- Adaptation: Under Governor John Lynch, New Hampshire developed a Climate Action Plan for the state in 2007 which included a Task Force focused on adaptation. The group launched the New Hampshire Climate Action Plan in 2009.
New Hampshire residents support clean energy and climate regulations
- According to the Yale Map Project on Climate Change Communication 68% of New Hampshire residents recognize that global warming is happening. The study finds that 75% of residents support regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant and 83% support funding research into renewable energy sources.
New Hampshire: biomass an important electricity source
- New Hampshire ranks 31 in wind capacity with 185 MW installed, enough to power 41,000 homes. There are 8 companies in NH related to wind manufacturing.
- New Hampshire ranks 33rd in solar, with 53 MW installed or enough to power 8,000 homes. The solar industry employs 1,200 people across 78 companies across the solar value chain in NH.
- After Maine and Vermont, New Hampshire is third in the nation for the proportion of its net electric generation derived from biomass, mainly wood and wood byproducts.
- Seabrook, the largest nuclear power reactor in New England, provided 47% of New Hampshire’s 2015 net electricity generation.
- New Hampshire’s renewable portfolio standard requires 24.8% of electricity sold in the state to come from renewable energy resources by 2025. In 2015, 17% of electricity generation came from renewables.
- New Hampshire is a part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a nine-state regional program to put a cap on carbon pollution from power plants