Americans are already experiencing the harmful effects of climate change, and those effects will get worse unless something is done, according to a new National Climate Assessment issued today. The report cites increased instances of extreme weather, droughts, and heat waves as evidence of climate change's impact, and presents evidence that human activities are driving that impact, the LA Times reports. "The overall message is that climate change is happening right now—we can't think of it as an issue for future generations," one lead author says.
If nothing is done, the report predicts that the Northeast and Midwest will be hit with more downpours and flooding, while the Great Plains will see more droughts, and the Southwest more wildfire and extreme heatwaves. Compiled by more than 240 experts, the assessment is the third such report, and is mandated by Congress every four years. President Obama will mark the occasion by meeting with meteorologists to discuss the findings, CNN reports. (Click for more on scientists' quest to develop livestock that's resistant to climate change.)