Report documents effects of climate change in California

LOS ANGELES - Climate change is more than just a theory in California, where fall-run chinook salmon populations are declining and coastal waters are more acidic.

A new report provides a snapshot of how the climate-change phenomenon is affecting the state. It shows, for instance, that conifer forests on the lower slopes of the Sierra Nevada have moved to higher elevations over the past half century.

Climate scientist Dan Cayan of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography says "there's certainly reason for concern."

The report updates a 2009 study that documented how a warming California was impacting the environment, wildlife and people.

The report says butterflies in the Central Valley are emerging from hiding earlier in the spring and glaciers in the Sierra Nevada have shrunk. Also, spring runoff from snowmelt has declined, affecting Central Valley farmers and hydroelectric plants that rely on snowmelt to produce power.

Officials hope the report will spur the state and local governments to plan ahead and adapt to a hotter future.

Watch a video from Scripps Oceanography that describes the "Greenhouse World" of 50 million years ago and its similarities to today (mobile users:

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