Giving Compass’ Take:
• Marissa Fessenden explains how a new tool can show you what the climate in your city will be like in 2080 as climate change progresses.
• How can tools like this help to make climate change visceral? How can this translate into action?
• Learn about a framework for addressing the impacts of climate change.
The threat of climate change is big, yet nebulous enough that it can be easy to ignore despite mounting evidence that humanity faces a future with more extreme heat waves, floods, drought and food shortages. Those hazards may just affect someone else. But a new study aims to make the effects personal by showing how the climate may change in your city.
Philadelphia in 2080 will feel a bit more like the climate of current day Memphis, for instance. Researchers analyzed rainfall and temperature trends and compared them to climate models for 540 cities across the U.S. and Canada. Their results forecast a climate change “twin city” for the future of each urban area, writes Robinson Meyer for The Atlantic.
“Everything gets warmer,” researcher Matt Fitzpatrick tells The Atlantic. Fitzpatrick is an associate professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. “I don’t think I’ve seen a place that doesn’t.”
Wondering what the future may hold for a particular city? The researchers created a web tool that allows people to play around with locations and climate change scenarios and see for themselves. The cities analyzed are home to 75 percent of the population of the U.S. and 50 percent of the population of Canada.
Summers in Washington, D.C., for example, are already pretty hot and sticky—but just wait until the 2080s. Even with reduced carbon emissions, the nation’s capitol is predicted to feel more like Paragould, Arkansas, where July temps regularly hover just above a sultry 90 degrees Fahrenheit, warmed by tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico. By comparison, Washington, D.C.’s July average high is just below 80 degrees. Say goodbye to the occasional snowpacolypse; Paragould currently gets an average of two inches of snowfall a year, according to U.S. Climate Data.
Read the full article about what your city will look like in 2080 by Marissa Fessenden at Smithsonian.
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