When you are older, your city will feel different. This is true for all. But for the people who live today, the changes will be impossible to ignore.
We usually measure climate change in terms of rising temperatures. But scientists say there is another way of thinking about it: spatial displacement.
In a new study, researchers say that cities in North America by 2080 will feel as if they are about 800 miles away from where they are now – in terms of the drastic changes that occur in the climate.
This is a median result – based on the forecasts of 540 urban areas in the US and Canada – if we assume that carbon emissions remain in the course of their current, gloomy, business-friendly levels.
But this 500-mile trip is not just a casual urban jump in any direction. It is almost universally directed to the South – where in North America places are usually hotter and wetter.
These "climatic analogues" – which you can explore on an interactive map designed by co-author Matt Fitzpatrick of the University of Maryland's Ecology Center – are designed to provide a "more comparable, on-site assessment of climate change" . ,
If you can really call these exchanges, which are almost science fiction-bound, this is: Washington, DC will feel more like a Mississippi swamp. New York will feel more like North Arkansas.
And Houston's climate will go into Mexican territory and there is nothing to make a border wall to stop it.
"We can use this technique to turn a future forecast into something that we can better grasp and relate to our own experience," says Fitzpatrick.
"I hope people will have this" wow "moment and it sinks for the first time in the scale of the changes we expect in one generation."
Still, at the current carbon footprint, many transformations that are known to happen can not be easily understood, according to data.
In the study, researchers have found that many locations in North America today do not actually have existing weather analogues; their predicted future time is a dystopia that we have not met before.
"For many urban areas, we have found significant differences between the future climate and the best contemporary climate analogue," the authors write, "highlighting that by the 2080s many cities could experience new climates without a modern equivalent in the field of research.
In principle, unless we do something about this at the moment, North American cities – and cities everywhere – go to hot spots where they really do not want to go.
Some of these places can be ride in your car today. Some do not yet exist.
But your hometown is definitely being transformed, do not be fooled by that.
The findings are reported in Nature Communications,