What impacts of climate change have already been observed?

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Regional climate change is already affecting many natural systems. For instance, it is increasingly being observed that snow and ice are melting and frozen ground is thawing, hydrological and biological systems are changing and in some cases being disrupted, migrations are starting earlier, and species' geographic ranges are shifting towards the poles.

Despite remaining gaps in knowledge, it is likely that these effects are linked to human influence on climate. At the regional level, however, responses to natural variability are difficult to separate from the effects of climate change.

Some previously unanticipated impacts of regional climate change are just starting to become apparent. For instance, melting glaciers can threaten mountain settlements and water resources, and damage associated with coastal flooding are increasing. More at

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