Sixty years from now, climate change can transform the east coast into the Gulf Coast. It will move Minnesota to Kansas, beat Tulsa to Texas and hoist Houston to Mexico. Even Oregonians can radiate out of their humid, cool corner and find themselves carried to the central valley of California.
These changes do not happen literally, of course – but that makes them no less real. A new paper is trying to find the twin city for climate change for hundreds of places across the United States: the city whose modern weather gives the best idea of what conditions will feel like in 2080. It finds that global warming will be like moving American cities more than 500 miles away from their current location, mostly, mostly to the south and to the interior.
For example, in the 2080s, Philadelphia will resemble the historic climate of Memphis, Tennessee. At the time the children today near retirement age, Philadelphia's average summer will be about 7 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than it is now. Winters in Philly will be almost 1
Meanwhile, the Memphis climate will look like the modern College Station, Texas, in 2080.
The paper is accompanied by the release of a new tool that lets the Americans find their city's climate change twin.
"Everything gets hotter," says Matthew Fitzpatrick, an author of the paper and a professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. "I don't think I've seen a place that doesn't." In the west and the Midwest, cities also tend to be dry as the large plains change east. So Chicago comes to Kansas, Denver drives to Texas, and San Francisco begins to feel like L.A.
Fitzpatrick warns that no cities fit perfectly with their climate summit, especially when it comes to rainfall. Many cities in the south simply do not have a good twin: "The climate in many urban areas may be in contrast to something present" in North America, supplies the paper.
"It's hard to think about how humid it will be."
In the Northeast you can imagine the future as a great Arkansasification. The paper notes that if the world meets its objectives under the Paris Agreement, Washington, D.C. will enter the 2080s, which feels much like Paragould, Arkansas. But if the world follows a worst-case scenario, then DC will look more like northern Mississippi, and New York City will feel like Jonesboro, Arkansas.
It worries Virginie Rolland, a resident of Jonesboro and a professor of ecology at Arkansas State University. "It is in line with what I know that the eastern United States is getting warmer and wetter, while [Midwest] is getting drier and warmer," she told me. Her own research focuses on Eastern bluebirds, which historically have spent the summer in New York before migrating south of the winter. But "they are starting to stay in New York" in the winter, she said, "so I know it's getting hotter there."
She also warned future New Yorkers about what Jonesboro has in store: "Summer is like Florida here. And I can't imagine New York as Florida … it's hard to think about how humid it gets. "
" I didn't want the hot and humid summer climate in Arkansas on anyone, "adopted David Stahle, a climate scientist at the University of Arkansas in an email.
"I was shocked to be honest," how many southern cities would soon feel, Fitzpatrick told me. The research spanned its own weather concerns: "I like snow, and I thought it should still happen here?" He said. But when he looked at his current home in Cumberland, Maryland, he found that it would soon feel like southern Kentucky. He moaned. "I lived for several years in Knoxville in central Tennessee when I was doing my Ph.D. and I couldn't wait to get out of there because it was so hot and humid. I thought agh, the climate follows me here . "
Although Fitzpatrick constantly works with climate data – and knew as he was saying," it gets hotter, whatever "- he had never thought about it like that. "If I have grandchildren and they lived in the same place, I do," he said, "they may not recognize this climate that we live in now."
This article originally came from the Atlantic.