Washington feeling impact of climate change




Posted on May 6, 2014 at 6:08 AM

SEATTLE -- It does not take a report from the White House to tell Laura James something is wrong with Puget Sound.

"Incredibly murky," said James, an avid diver and photographer, "It's like diving by braille."

James believes increased algae blooms and other environmental damage is making the water around Seattle more cloudy and less healthy.

"We're going to run into a situation where a lot of the undersea world is impacted by what is happening on the surface," she said.

Her thoughts come the day before President Obama releases a National Climate Assessment, expected to raise more warning signs regarding the country's environmental health and lay a foundation for stricter regulations on fossil fuel emissions.

Already, experts in the Puget Sound have chronicled tides rising higher and the water temperature increasing, linked to global warming.

Impacts can be seen in the mountains as well, where glaciers are melting at an alarming rate.

"I can't tell you the number of times I've gone to a place where it says 'follow the glaciated route', and there's no glacier," recalled mountaineer Eric Linxweiler.

Linxweiler has also experienced more unpredictable weather, mostly in the northern Cascades, which some believe is also a by-product of climate change.

"I worry about it," he said, "I've got three kids and I want to make sure they know what it's like to see these amazing places."