Here’s how your city’s climate will change by 2080, if you’re in Canada or the United States
Climate change is a hard thing to imagine, especially 60 years into the future. With that in mind, environmental scientists have developed a web-based app that can tell people living in one of 540 cities in Canada or the continental United States, how their homes will transform by the year 2080—and which modern-day city it is most likely to resemble.
Using 27 different climate models, researchers looked at 12 different aspects of climate—including maximum and minimum temperatures, precipitation, and how those factors vary with the seasons—for each location under two scenarios: one in which atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) rise from 410 parts per million (ppm) today to around 650 ppm in the year 2100, and another in which CO2 levels rise to about 1370 ppm. Then, they compared projected data points from each city with the climates those locales experience now.
In the lower-emissions scenario, about 70% of the cities have a “future climate sister city,” but it’s typically hundreds of kilometers away and farther south, the researchers report today in Nature Communications. For example, residents of Washington, D.C., can expect a climate in the 2080s that resembles the current climate in Paragould, Arkansas, about 132 kilometers northwest of Memphis, Tennessee. Meanwhile, folks in Anchorage, Alaska, may experience the same climate as today’s Owen Sound, Canada, about 160 kilometers northwest of Toronto.
But in the high-emissions scenario, just 17% of locations will have such sister cities; a whopping 83% will have a future combination of temperature and precipitation unlike anything anywhere in the Western Hemisphere north of the equator, the researchers note.
Feeling a little hot under the collar? If you want to figure out what the climate in your city will be like in the 2080s, the app is available here.