How has global warming affected the Chesapeake Bay and other areas around Virginia and Maryland?

Scientists believe that the following impacts from Global Warming are already being seen in Maryland and Virginia, which are part of the Chesapeake Bay region:

2006 was the second warmest year on record for the US. It was the third warmest for Maryland. 2002 was the 5th warmest for Maryland. (Environment Maryland). 1998 was the warmest. Cities in the region are experiencing "an increased number, intensity, and duration of heat waves," threatening public health, particularly that of elderly Americans and infants, as predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. These heat waves also stress flora and fauna, including brook trout populations in Maryland, which are predicted to go extinct from global warming (Meisner) in most regions of Maryland. The heat also affects the number of code red air quality days. Increased droughts are arributed to global warming. The warmer, saltier, oxygen-depleted water in the Bay caused by drought is inhospitable to crabs. Increased droughts also stress other aquatic organisms like rockfish (a 6.6 billion dollar industry), cause billions in crop damage, and create water supply problems. Droughts also stress trees and make them more susceptible to damage from gypsy moths and other invasive pests.

Islands in the Chesapeake Bay are suffering from a combination of natural subsidence and increased sea level, including Smith, Hoopers and Bloodsworth Islands. Holland island was abandoned in 1992. 7000 acres of marsh have already been lost in the Blackwater refuge due to natural causes and more is expected due to global sea level increase.

According to the Arbor Day Foundation "based upon data from 5,000 National Climatic Data Center cooperative stations across the continental United States", USDA hardiness zones in Maryland and Virginia have shifted due to global warming and these shifts are predicted to continue. The period between first and last dates with snow on the ground has decreased 7 days over past 50 years.

The spread of diseases is affected by global warming; a flesh eating form of Cholera named Vibrio has made its way into the Chesapeake Bay region as a result. "In the last couple of decades, water temperatures in the Bay have increased by two degrees and by three to five degrees in some of its tributaries;" this is expected to create an increase in pathogens (Dr. Kevin Sellner, Director of the Chesapeake Research Consortium) that include West Nile Virus. Flooding is increasing in cities along waterbodies; Baltimore participated in the landmark Supreme Court Case Massachusetts vs EPA that successfully forced EPA to regulate Greenhouse Gases under the clean air act due to this flooding in the Harbor Region. visit http://local-warming.blogspot.com/search/label/local%20problems for an overview of documented and predicted issues from Global Warming in the region.