In one generation, the climate experienced in many North American cities is projected to change to that of locations hundreds of miles away, or to a new climate unlike any found in North America today.
A new study and interactive web application aim to help the public understand how climate change will impact the lives of people who live in urban areas of the United States and Canada. These new climate analyses match the expected future climate in each city with the current climate of another location, providing a relatable picture of what is likely in store.
Scientists analyzed 540 urban areas that encompassed approximately 250 million inhabitants in the United States and Canada. For each urban area, they mapped the similarity between that city's future climate expected by the 2080s and contemporary climate in the western hemisphere north of the equator using 12 measures of climate, including minimum and maximum temperature and precipitation during the four seasons.
The study also mapped climate differences under two emission trajectories: unmitigated emissions (RCP8.5), the scenario most in line with what might be expected given current policies and the speed of global action, and mitigated emissions (RCP4.5), which assumes policies are put in place to limit emissions, such as the Paris Agreement.
Interactive climate map: www.umces.edu/futureurbanclimates.