Climate change is hard to imagine, especially 60 years in the future. With this in mind, environmental scientists have developed a web-based application that can tell people living in one of the 540 cities in Canada or the continent of the United States how their homes will be transformed by 2080, and who is the modern city will likely resemble.
Using 27 different climate models, researchers looked at 12 different climate aspects – including maximum and minimum temperatures, precipitation and how these factors vary depending on the seasons – for each location in two scenarios: one where atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO)2) today increases from 410 parts per million to about 650 ppm in 2100 and the other in CO2 levels rise to about 1370 ppm. They then compare the predicted data from each city with the weather conditions they are already experiencing.
In the lower emission scenario, about 70% of cities have a "future city friend", but it is usually hundreds of miles away and further south, scientists report today Nature CommunicationsFor example, residents of Washington, DC may expect a climate in the 2080s that resembles the current climate in Paragold, Arkansas, about 132 kilometers northwest of Memphis, Tennessee. Meanwhile, people in Anchorage, Alaska, may experience the same climate as today's Owen Sound, Canada, about 160 miles northwest of Toronto.
But in the high emission scenario, only 17% of the sites will have such twin cities; 83% will have a future combination of temperature and rainfall, unlike anything else in the Western Hemisphere north of the equator, researchers said.
Do you feel a little hot under the collar? If you want to know what the climate will be in your city in the 2080s, the app is available here.