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Global Warming Could Change US Cities’ Climate by 2080- Study

The climate in New York City in 60 years could feel like Arkansas now.

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US, New York
FILE - People cool off at the Unisphere in Queens, New York, July 2, 2018. VOA

The climate in New York City in 60 years could feel like Arkansas now. Chicago could seem like Kansas City and San Francisco could get a Southern California climate if global warming pollution continues at the current pace, a new study finds.

In 2080, North Carolina’s capital, Raleigh, could feel more like Florida’s capital, Tallahassee, while the nation’s capital will have a climate more akin to just north of the Mississippi Delta, if the globe stays on its current carbon pollution trend. Miami might as well be southern Mexico and the beautiful mornings in future Des Moines, Iowa, could feel like they are straight out of Oklahoma.

That’s according to a study Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications that tries to explain climate change better.

“The children alive today, like my daughter who is 12, they’re going to see a dramatic transformation of climate. It’s already under way,” said study lead author Matt Fitzpatrick. He’s an ecology professor at the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Sciences in Frostburg, Maryland, which won’t quite measure up to its name with climate more like current day southern Kentucky.

New York, Climate
The climate in New York City in 60 years could feel like Arkansas now. Pixabay

But if the world cuts back on its carbon dioxide emissions, peaking around 2040, then New York’s climate can stay closer to home, feeling more like central Maryland, while Chicago’s climate could be somewhat like Dayton, Ohio’s.

Fitzpatrick looked at 12 different variables for 540 U.S. and Canadian cities under two climate change scenarios to find out what the future might feel like in a way a regular person might understand. He averaged the climate results from 27 different computer models then found the city that most resembles that futuristic scenario.

He put the results on a website that allows people to check how their nearest city could feel.

“Wow,” said Northern Illinois University climate scientist Victor Gensini, who wasn’t part of the study. “The science here isn’t new but a great way to bring impacts to the local scale user.”

Biggest change

The 540 cities on average move 528 miles (850 kilometers) to the south climate-wise, if carbon emissions keep soaring. If the world cuts back, the cities move on average 319 miles (514 kilometers).

The city that moves the most is Wasilla, Alaska, which if emissions aren’t cut back could feel like eastern Wisconsin, 11 degrees warmer in the summer. It’s a change of about 2,720 miles (4,379 kilometers).

ALSO READ: US Senate Program Approved Major Public Lands Bill, Revives Conservation Program

“Visualizations that tap into our own lived experiences make a lot of sense,” said Oregon State University climate scientist Kathie Dello, who wasn’t part of the study and doesn’t like what it shows for her region. “Telling people in historically mild Portland that the climate in the late 21st century will be more like the hot Central Valley of California is jarring.” (VOA)

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Fastest Shrinking Greenland Glacier Growing Again: NASA

"That was kind of a surprise. We kind of got used to a runaway system," said Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland ice and climate scientist Jason Box

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This 2016 photo provided by NASA shows patches of bare land at the Jakobshavn glacier in Greenland. The major Greenland glacier that was one of the fastest shrinking ice and snow masses on Earth is growing again, a new NASA study finds. VOA

A major Greenland glacier that was one of the fastest shrinking ice and snow masses on Earth is growing again, a new NASA study finds.

The Jakobshavn (YA-cob-shawv-en) glacier around 2012 was retreating about 1.8 miles (3 kilometers) and thinning nearly 130 feet (almost 40 meters) annually. But it started growing again at about the same rate in the past two years, according to a study in Monday’s Nature Geoscience . Study authors and outside scientists think this is temporary.

“That was kind of a surprise. We kind of got used to a runaway system,” said Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland ice and climate scientist Jason Box. “The good news is that it’s a reminder that it’s not necessarily going that fast. But it is going.”

Box, who wasn’t part of the study, said Jakobshavn is “arguably the most important Greenland glacier because it discharges the most ice in the northern hemisphere. For all of Greenland, it is king.”

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“The good news is that it’s a reminder that it’s not necessarily going that fast. But it is going.” VOA

Cyclical cooling

A natural cyclical cooling of North Atlantic waters likely caused the glacier to reverse course, said study lead author Ala Khazendar, a NASA glaciologist on the Oceans Melting Greenland (OMG) project. Khazendar and colleagues say this coincides with a flip of the North Atlantic Oscillation — a natural and temporary cooling and warming of parts of the ocean that is like a distant cousin to El Nino in the Pacific.

The water in Disko Bay, where Jakobshavn hits the ocean, is about 3.6 degrees cooler (2 degrees Celsius) than a few years ago, study authors said.

While this is “good news” on a temporary basis, this is bad news on the long term because it tells scientists that ocean temperature is a bigger player in glacier retreats and advances than previously thought, said NASA climate scientist Josh Willis, a study co-author. Over the decades the water has been and will be warming from man-made climate change, he said, noting that about 90 percent of the heat trapped by greenhouse gases goes into the oceans.

“In the long run we’ll probably have to raise our predictions of sea level rise again,” Willis said.

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Think of the ocean temperatures near Greenland like an escalator that’s rising slowly from global warming, Khazendar said. VOA

Like an escalator

Think of the ocean temperatures near Greenland like an escalator that’s rising slowly from global warming, Khazendar said. But the natural North Atlantic Oscillation sometimes is like jumping down a few steps or jumping up a few steps. The water can get cooler and have effects, but in the long run it is getting warmer and the melting will be worse, he said.

ALSO READ: Due to Global Warming Mount Everest Melting Glaciers Throw Up Climbers’ Bodies

Four outside scientists said the study and results make sense.

University of Washington ice scientist Ian Joughin, who wasn’t part of the study and predicted such a change seven years ago, said it would be a “grave mistake” to interpret the latest data as contradicting climate change science.

What’s happening, Joughin said, is “to a large extent, a temporary blip. Downturns do occur in the stock market, but overall the long term trajectory is up. This is really the same thing.” (VOA)