Climate study: bleak outlook for Pacific Northwest

More people likely will die from heat waves and poor air quality in the Puget Sound region in the years ahead, the result of climate change, according to a report released Wednesday by the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group.

The team of scientists was commissioned in 2007 by the state Legislature to look at climate-change effects. It also paints a sobering picture of increased heavy rain in Western Washington in the winter, more forest fires and reduced stream flows in the summer, and water shortages in the agriculturally rich Yakima Valley Basin.

"The impacts they project are downright scary," state Department of Ecology Director Jay Manning said. "Climate change is the biggest, long-term threat we face in the state."

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