Breaking Down What Climate Change Will Do, Region by Region

Originally published by Grist

Look, at this point, even the most stubborn among us know that climate change is coming for our asses. We really don’t have much time until the climate plagues we’re already getting previews of — mega-wildfires, rising sea-levels, superstorm after superstorm — start increasing in frequency. The 4th National Climate Assessment says all that and much more is on its way.

Here’s the thing: Not all regions in the U.S. are going to experience climate change in the same way. Yourbackyard might suffer different climate consequences than my backyard. And, let’s be honest, we need to know what’s happening in our respective spaces so we can be prepared. I’m not saying it’s time to start prepping your bunker, but I would like to know if my family should consider moving to higher ground or stock up on maple syrup.

Luckily, that new report — which Trump tried to bury on Black Friday — breaks down climate change’s likely impacts on 10 specific regions. Unluckily, the chapters are super dense.

Silver lining: We at Grist divvied up the chapters and translated them into news you can actually use.

Northeast

Ahh, the Northeast, home to beautiful autumn leaves, delicious maple syrup, and copious amounts of ticks bearing disease. What’s not to love? A lot, according to this report.

Our region is looking at “the largest temperature increase in the contiguous United States” — 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit by the time 2035 rolls around. We’re going to be slammed with the highest rates of sea-level rise in the whole damn country, and we’re going to have the highest rate of ocean warming. Urban centers are particularly at risk (remember Superstorm Sandy?). And if you’re a fan of snuggling up beside the fire in your Connecticut mansion (or whatever), be warned that winters are projected to warm in our region three times faster than summers. That means delayed ski seasons and less time to tap maple trees.

Things are gonna be rough on us humans, but dragonflies and damselflies — two insects literally no one ever thinks about, but that flourish in healthy ecosystems — are pretty much doomed. The report says their habitat could decline by as much as 99 percent by 2080.

Sea-level rise, flooding, and extreme weather poses a mental health threat to Northeasterners. Impacted coastal communities can expect things like “anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder.” But it’s not all bad: The assessment portends more intense (read: Instagram-able) fall foliage and more forest growth.

Zoya Teirstein

Southeast

If, like me, you love your filthy, dirty South, you’ll be pleased to hear that summer thunderstorms, skeeters, ticks, and hot, muggy weather aren’t going anywhere! (Actually, don’t be pleased. This is serious.)

Southerners are accustomed to warm days followed by warm nights, but as the heat continues to turn up, those nights just might be our downfall. Urban and rural areas alike can expect to sweat through up to 100 additional warm nights per year by the end of this century. Hot, sticky nights make it harder for us to recover from the heat of the day. This is especially bad in parts of many Southeastern cities, where residents suffer from the “heat island effect.”

“I think it’s really important to look at the heat-related impacts on labor productivity,” says chapter author Kirstin Dow, a social environmental geographer at the University of South Carolina. Under one scenario, the Southeast could see losses of 570 million labor hours, amounting to about $47 billion per year — one-third of the nation’s total loss. What’s more, Dow says, “Those changes are going to take place in counties where there’s already chronic poverty.”

Warming waters will also push the infamous lionfish closer to the Atlantic Coast. In addition to being invasive, this freaky-looking fish is venomous, and swimmers and divers can expect more encounters (and stings) as the climate brings them closer to our beaches.

Claire Elise Thompson

Caribbean

For someone who doesn’t like donning heavy clothing during the winter, the Caribbean has the perfect weather: year-round warm days with ocean breezes. Climate change, according to the report, means we can’t have nice things.

In the near future, the Caribbean will experience longer dry seasons and shorter, but wetter rainy seasons. To make matters worse: During those arid periods, freshwater supplies will be lacking for islanders. And since islands (by definition) aren’t attached to any other land masses, “you can’t just pipe in water,” says Adam Terando, USGS Research Ecologist and chapter author.

The report confirmed something island-dwellers know all too well: Climate change is not coming to the Caribbean — it’s already there. And it’ll only get worse. Disastrous storms the likes of Hurricane Maria — which took the lives of nearly 3,000 Puerto Ricans— are expected to become more common in a warming world.

Another striking result: Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands are projected to lose 3.6 percent and 4.6 percent of total coastal land area, respectively, posing a threat to critical infrastructure near its shores. The tourism industry will have to grapple with the disappearance of its beaches. Even notable cultural sites aren’t safe: Encroaching seas threaten El Morro — a hulking fortress that sits majestically on the coast of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

“Our island is trying to limit its emissions — but we’re not big emitters,” lead chapter author Ernesto L. Diaz, a coastal management expert at Puerto Rico’s Dept. of Natural and Environmental Resources, tells Grist.

Paola Rosa-Aquino

Midwest

What’s in store for the Midwest? Oh hello there, crop diseases and pests! Hold onto your corn husks, because maize yields will be down 5 to 25 percent across the region by midcentury, mostly due to hot temps. And soybean hauls will decline more than 25 percent in the southern Midwest.

Beyond wilting crops, extreme heat puts lives at risk. The Midwest may see the biggest increase in temperature-related deaths compared to other regions, putting everyone from farmworkers to city-dwellers at risk. In one particularly bad climate change scenario, late-21st-century Chicago could end up seeing 60 days per year above 100 degrees F — similar to present-day Las Vegas or Phoenix.

The Great Lakes represent 20 percent of freshwater on the world’s surface, but lately, they’re looking … not so fresh. Climate change and pollution from farms are leading to toxic algae blooms  and literally starving the water of oxygen.

But hey, there’s a silver lining. Midwesterners (myself included) have developed a bad habit of leaving their homeland for other parts of the country. That trend may reverse. “The Midwest may actually experience migration into the region because of climate change,” Maria Carmen Lemos, a Midwest chapter author and professor at the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability, said in a statement. So while you may have to reconsider your ice-fishing plans, Midwesterners, it could be a whole lot worse.

Kate Yoder

Northern Great Plains

The Northern Great Plains is far from any ocean. Water melts off mountain snowpack, slowly trickles down glaciers, and pools up in basins. The largely arid region is dominated by thirsty industries like agriculture, energy extraction, and tourism. There’s a byzantine system of century-old water rights and competing interests.

Or as my dad, a Montana cattle rancher, puts it: “Whiskey is for drinking. Water is for fighting.”

Residents might want to steel themselves with a little bourbon as climate change will escalate those water woes, according to the report. Winters will end earlier and snow could decline as much as 25 to 40 percent in the mountainous regions.

It’s not just some far-off problem for cross-country skiers and thirsty critters. The authors point to the behavior of the mountain pine beetle as one example of a climate-influenced tweak that’s had devastating impact. Warmer winters and less precipitation have enabled the bugs to kill off huge swaths of forest in the region.

Lest you think what happens in the Dakotas stays in the Dakotas: While only 1.5 percent of the U.S. population lives in this region, it contributes nearly 13 percent of the country’s agricultural market value.

It’s culturally critical, too: The area is home to 27 federally recognized tribes that are already experiencing climate threats such as a lack of access to safe water and declining fisheries.

Darby Minow Smith

Southern Great Plains

The Southern Great Plains flips between heat waves, tornadoes, drought, ice storms, hurricanes, and hail. The weather is “dramatic and consequential” according to the report. It’s “a terrible place to be a hot tar roofer,” according to me, a former Kansas roofer. In a warmed world, none of this improves. Well, maybe the ice storms.

The region will continue to have longer and hotter summers, meaning more drought. Portions of the already shrinking Ogallala Aquifer, which is critical to a huge western swath of the region, could be completely depleted within 25 years, according to the report.

Texas’ Gulf Coast will face sea-level rise, stronger hurricanes, and an expanded range of tropical, mosquito-borne diseases like dengue and Zika. It’ll also experience more intense floods. Many of the region’s dams and levees are in need of repair and aren’t equipped for the inundations.

One of the chapter’s lead authors, Bill Bartush, a conservation coordinator with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, tells Grist that how landowners handle the extremes of water management will be key to climate adaptation. Given the region’s high rates of private land ownership, it’s essential to get them on board.

In weirder news, the region’s Southern Flounder population is declining because the fish’s sex is determined by water temperature. Warmer winters mean more males. It’s like a terrible reboot of Three Men and a Baby, but with more flounder and no baby.

Daniel Penner

Northwest

The Pacific Northwest has more rain in its winter forecast. That might not sound unusual for a region known for its wet weather, but more winter rain — as opposed to snow — could impact the region’s water supply and entire way of life.

Most of the Northwest relies on melting mountain snow for water during the summer. Climate change will replace more of that snow with rain, which flows downstream right away rather than being stored on mountainsides until the temperatures warm. Less snowmelt during hot summers could damage salmon habitat, dry out farms, harm the region’s outdoor industry, and increase wildfire risk.

“It’s like our tap is on all the time,” said Heidi Roop, a research scientist at the University of Washington Climate Impacts Group, which helped author the chapter.

The report forecasts a lot of change in the Northwest, including flooding and landslides. But rainy winters? That’s one thing that’s not going away anytime soon.

Jesse Nichols

Southwest

“I am large. I contain multitudes,” Walt Whitman said of himself. But he could have very well said it of the Southwest, where stretches of desert give way to soaring, snow-capped mountains. Yet this might not be the case for long. Climate change threatens all of this beautiful ecological diversity, as well as the 60 million people who call this area home, including 182 tribal nations.

The hottest and driest corner of the country is already suffering from heat waves, droughts, and increased wildfires. As a result, the Southwest, to put it bluntly, is running out of water. With water at already record low levels and a population that continues to grow, the region is working on a recipe for water scarcity.

“Lake Mead, which provides drinking water to Las Vegas and water for agriculture in the region, has fallen to its lowest level since the filling of the reservoir in 1936 and lost 60 percent of its volume,” coordinating chapter author Patrick Gonzalez, a climate scientist at the University of California, Berkeley, tells Grist.

In the coming years, temperatures in this region will soar. Droughts, including megadroughts lasting 10 years, will become commonplace. Agriculture will take a steep hit, causing food insecurity. Expect those lovely desert sunsets to take on an unsettling pink, as the snow-capped mountains grow bald.

Greta Moran

Alaska

In Alaska, water is life, life is shellfish, shellfish is power. But, alas, climate change is about to do a number on the state’s marine life, food webs, and species distributions. According to the climate assessment, ocean acidification is expected to disrupt “corals, crustaceans, crabs, mollusks,” as well as “Tanner and red king crab and pink salmon.” Lots of indigenous peoples rely on that variety of marine life.

The largest state in the country is already ground zero for climate change. Thawing permafrost means structures are literally sinking into the ground all over the state.

What does a temperature increase really mean? Well, under the worst-case scenario, the coldest nights of the year are projected to warm 12 DEGREES F by midcentury.

I know I said water, either frozen or liquid, is the name of the game in Alaska, but the report says the state should expect more wildfires in the future, too. Under a high-temperature-increase scenario, as much as 120 million acres could burn between 2006 and 2100. That’s an area larger than California.

Oh yeah, and the report says there’s going to be an increase in “venomous insects.” Cheers.

Zoya Teirstein

Hawaii and the Pacific Islands

This region houses 1.9 million people, 20 indigenous languages, countless endemic (one-of-a-kind) flora and fauna species, and the freaking Mariana Trench (the world’s deepest point).

Pacific island communities can expect to grapple with the usual climate change suspects: rising sea levels, weird rainfall patterns, drought, flooding, and extreme temperatures. But all those things have unique implications for supplies of island drinking water. In short, like those who live in the Caribbean, these communities’ ability to survive depends on protecting their fresh water.

Extremes in the weather patterns El Niño and La Niña could doublein the 21st century, compared to the previous one. El Ninos bring drought, which means Pacific communities have to desalinate water to make up for dwindling rainfall. But rising sea levels contaminate groundwater supplies and aquifers, which basically means Pacific Islanders have it coming from all sides.

Wait, there’s more. Too much freshwater is bad, too. Under a higher-warming scenario, rainfall in Hawaii could increase by 30 percent in wet areas by the end of the century. Think that’s good for dry areas? Think again! Projections suggest rainfall decreases of up to 60 percent in those. So more rain where rain isn’t needed and less rain where it’s dry. Great.

To end things on a sad note — because why the hell not — the National Climate Assessment states that “nesting seabirds, turtles and seals, and coastal plants” are going to be whacked by climate change. :(

Zoya Teirstein

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56 comments

  1. Amfortas the hippie

    such granularity has been lacking.
    almost 20 years ago, when I first learned of “global warming” on my new internet machine, I came across an interactive map(I think it was from the Hadley Climate Center, but I could be wrong. I know it was European) that showed sea level rise over 100 or so years. had enough granularity that I could confirm my napkin equations that said that the Balcones Fault line(Austin-Fredericksberg,-points west) would one day be the new Texas Coast, with the lower third of the Mississippi Valley becoming a large bay.
    This will have profound effects on local and regional weather.
    and it’s just one bit of the puzzle.
    If you go to the Bolivar Peninsula, east of Galveston, and look out into the Gulf…beneath the muddy water are old river valleys and hills…and proto-Indian artifacts and mastodon bones, from the last Ice Age, when the coast was 20-100 miles further out than today.
    Probably sooner than any of us hope, my kids or grandkids will be able to do the same from Austin…a shallow—and very dirty–sea where the Coastal Plains once were.
    Sell your coastal property now, before the rush.

    Reply
    1. Isotope_C14

      “This will have profound effects on local and regional weather.”

      The jet stream already doesn’t move much. We have very little time before grains are going to be difficult at best to grow. The famines are going to be global, and the 0.1% think they are going to ride it out in bunkers. After all the insects are dead and there are no animals, are they going to come out and learn to farm? That would be a hoot, especially with no pollinating insects. Perhaps they can pay someone a fiat currency to run around touching flowers with their hands covered in glue?

      They always say that the great lakes region/mid-west will be somewhat spared. This is flatly false. The largest concentration of nuclear reactors in the US is in Northern IL. When the collapse happens, those areas are going to be piping hot. Kind of telling when NBC covers nuclear plant tritium leaks:

      http://www.nbcnews.com/id/11996239/ns/us_news-environment/t/groundwater-leaks-nuclear-plants-trend/#.XAD1d1WEpPY

      “Sell your coastal property now, before the rush.”

      Or be smart, and don’t buy it in the first place, :)

      Reply
      1. TimmyB

        When I read of climate change, rising sea levels are always mentioned. Frankly, this will be the least of humanity’s problems.

        The elephant in the room, which you mentioned, is the global famine that climate change will cause. We can expect widespread, deadly famines and droughts. Finding enough food and drinking water for the billions of people of Earth will be the biggest problems.

        We will starve before we need to move to higher ground.

        Reply
        1. divadab

          Buddy, as long as I can plant corn, I’m not starving.

          The effects will be worse the closer to the equator so expect ravening hordes migrating north. We better figure out how to keep them out. Trump is right but for the wrong reasons.

          Just like he probably will do something good by mistake.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Not so fast there. Better check on a map where you want to be growing that corn first. Some time ago Lambert linked an article that talked about how the 100th meridian is slowly shifting east. This is the boundary that divides the humid eastern U.S. and the dry western Plains. That is another factor that is going to have to be cranked into any calculations. I believe that this was the article posted-

            https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/04/13/climate-boundary-shifts-140-miles-global-warming/514911002/

            I think that Lambert mentioned at the time that this was America’s farmlands that were being slowly chewed up.

            Reply
            1. divadab

              I have it covered, geographically. But there’s only so much you can hedge of the future uncertain. For example, my power’s been out for two days due to a record snowfall (new record) and it’s looking like less reliable electricity supply is the new normal. Lucky thing I have a lifetime supply of firewood. And a generator. And two chainsaws. And a year’s supply of dry food, and a good water supply. No guns but probably a good idea.

              Reply
              1. Amfortas the hippie

                prolly should rethink relying on corn(see:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nixtamalization#Impact_on_health)
                combine it with beans and squash(superfood), at the very least.
                our poverty grain is mesquite beans…can’t hardly kill the things any way, and the flour so derived is super healthy.
                learn about what grows wild around you, and how to eat it without killing yourself(see:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_McCandless)
                and learn where the salt licks are…old usgs maps sometimes have salt springs marked…but place names(salt branch, etc) are good clues as well.
                the biggest problem with the idea of returning to the 1850’s as a hedge against the failure of modernity…is that the same modernity has so totally screwed up the biosphere. add in AGW uncertainty…like what effect high co2 is gonna have on plants, among a million other considerations…and there’s really no going back.
                I think that ancient knowledge is probably a better starting point for rapid adaptation than being glued to a screen, however.
                about a third of my library is devoted to such things.

                Reply
                1. Wukchumni

                  An avenue to go by is where did the Native Americans live?

                  Here, we had around 2,000 Wukchumni for a few thousand years, now there’s 2,000 Americans, not much change population-wise.

                  For me, it’s all about knowing where the springs are, and hidden away perpetual creeks. We’ve visited the headwaters of all of the rivers here way up on high and are very well acquainted with its flows.

                  There’s a couple of soda springs i’m aware of, just bring lemonade powder, mix it up in a nalgene and presto! Lemonade soda.

                  Reliable water was what drew the Native Yokuts to the area and…

                  They had one of the highest regional population densities in pre-contact North America.

                  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yokuts

                  Reply
                2. drumlin woodchuckles

                  Does any of your literature mention anything about eating corn sprouts ( sprouted corn)? Would sprouting corn mobilize and available-ize the niacin just as nixtamamization does?

                  Reply
                  1. Amfortas the hippie

                    corn(maize) is a True Grass…like bamboo, and all the cereals.
                    since we only have one stomach, we can chew the grass, and get the juice, but we can’t digest the fibers. similarly for grains(try eating a pound of raw wheat berries)
                    cooking takes the place of all those additional stomachs.
                    I’m loathe to give dietary advice…but I think the main thing to consider is diversity…we started screwing things up when we narrowed our focus to giant fields of one crop.
                    See: Ishmael, Daniel Quin, for an interesting and arresting lens)

                    Reply
                    1. drumlin woodchuckles

                      I didn’t mean juicing young corngrass the way we juice young wheatgrass.

                      I meant sprouting corn so the root and/or growing shoot were just emerging and a fractional inch long.
                      Like bean sprouts.

                      At that stage of initial sprouting, would the niacin in corn be mobilized as with nixtamalization?

          2. Lord Koos

            The southern hemisphere is said to be less affected by climate change than the north will be. Predictions of hordes fleeing to the north are probably premature as people may actually move south to less affected and less populated areas. I know that if I were younger I would seriously consider relocating to somewhere like Ecuador, Uruguay, etc.

            Reply
            1. Tony Wright

              Dont move here (Australia)though, unless you want to risk getting your tail feathers scorched in a bushfire. Our increasingly frequent and severe floods , droughts and bushfires obviously are not considered newsworthy where you live.

              Reply
        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          If he would be, someone should definitely try to sell him some. Really, truly and without being satirical at all.

          If I had the patience, I would sit there and listen to Limbaugh and try to become one of the permitted call-in audience-members. I would then ask, in all innocence, with a straight-faced voice, whether the Liberal Global Warming Hoax creates some contrarian investing opportunities for me? But I don’t have the patience for that sort of thing.

          Reply
  2. The Rev Kev

    Maybe to get a handle on what is coming, it might be an idea to go digging into the archives and see what has occurred in the past. As an example, this article started with the Northeast. Well, back in 1821 this region was hit by the Norfolk and Long Island hurricane (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1821_Norfolk_and_Long_Island_hurricane) which ended up hitting New York. The storm surge for several hours cut Manhattan Island in half – and it hit during low tide. The Swiss Reinsurance Company used this hurricane to put together a study on what would have happened if the same storm hit today and it makes interesting reading and helped give that company an idea of what is possible. The report is at

    http://media.swissre.com/documents/the_big_one_us_hurricane.pdf

    Reply
  3. polecat

    Adaptation is/will be the word of the day ! Anyone who says we need to stop climate change is blowin smoke. And lets be realistic here, no one, not you .. nor I, certainly governments the world over, aren’t going to do sqat, as meaningful concrete changes by
    ALL humanity will simply not happen ..too much self-interest and greed will see to that. What really worries me is the mitigation proposals ..colloquially known as ‘terraforming’.. being thought up by folks who don’t what the term ‘unintended consequences truly means … because Human Infallibility …
    Luck will be the by-word.

    Reply
    1. divadab

      Luck and foresight and hard work. Lots of hard work. The Fries in northern netherlands have a saying that translates as: “If you don;t want to build dikes, you can go away”. No slackers wanted. No useless mouths. Thou must work and earn thy food by the sweat of thy brow.

      Reply
    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      I wonder if you are confusing “need to” with “are going to”. It is no blowing of smoke to say that IF we wish to preserve the earth-bioshpere habitat to which we would like to remain accustomed, then we would NEED to stop man made global warming. The blowing of smoke MAYYY enter in when we say we CAN stop global warming.

      Or maybe not even then . . . hypotheoretically. If everybody did all the right things which it is possible for everybody to do . . . and if everybody could then conquer their governments and redirect their conquered governments to force down the level of carbon skydumping and force up the level of carbon skydraining, then we still “could” in “theory” stop or even reverse global warming.

      But given the speedup of climate decay now under way, adaptation in place is the first best thing to focus on now. If you can’t even help yourself, you can’t possibly help anyone else.

      About the mitigation proposals . . . stratosulfate injection and BECS and stuff like that repel me. But carbon capture farming, biocharring, etc interest me. Those things have been done before . . . . as in biochar terraforming of the pre-Conquest Amazon.

      Reply
  4. Oldlion

    Besides allowing people to prepare, it Is important to provide deailled and credible assessments of probable impacts of global,warming for each area, because due to human nature we are more likely to react to concrete threats affecting ourselves.
    As long as it only involves future générations or far away poor countries.. Well.. It feels theoritical, even if you agree with the diagnosis.

    It Is late but not too late, so every bit of harch reality exposition is useful

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      What you suggest — “detailed and credible assessments of probable impacts of global,warming for each area” — would be very nice to have. If we can save the data and its analysis from our ongoing experiment in climate change we will probably be able to make much better predictions in the distant future for the ways the next climate change might progress. We should learn much more about the nonlinear effects in the climate systems — although many of those effects are probably time varying. One problem with our current experiment is the extremely high rate of increase in CO2 and hence warming which greatly contrasts with the climate transitions of the geologically recent past.

      Reply
  5. PlutoniumKun

    Just a warning on those projections – things may have changed, but I recall years ago reading a detailed argument made by one of the top climate modellers (sorry, can’t find the link right now) that while they had very strong confidence in predictions on a global or continental scale, they had far weaker confidence at a regional or local scale. He said there was a lot of pressure from policy makers (not just politicians, other scientists working on specific problems, and most particularly engineers, looking to build climate change into design predictions) to make the models do more work than they were capable of (at least with any strong level of confidence). Essentially, the models were being used to generate regional and local level predictions that were little more than educated guesswork, but were being communicated widely without the necessary qualifications as not being of the same level of accuracy as the global models.

    I’ve had experience of this in listening to engineers assure audiences that ‘the models predict a 20% rise in maximum flood rate in this river basin over 50 years due to climate change, we’ve built this into our projections, so we’ve got this issue covered’. This just isn’t how the climate works. The only certainty is that we will get some very nasty surprises.

    Reply
    1. makedoanmend

      If you’re still around the comments section PK – do you know of any climate impact studies done for Ireland? or involving Ireland from an EU standpoint? (I mean scientific studies, to clarify.)

      Of course, if anyone else has info on Ireland, feel free to share. Maybe Liam?

      thx

      Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        I don’t think anyone has done anything more than extrapolate wider models for Ireland – the Irish Met office is more metereology based that climatology based, and that gives a significant bias towards simpler models.

        I’ve sat in training sessions and conferences where people (usually engineers, not scientists) have confidently talked about ‘drier, hotter summers, wetter winters, far more storms, more intense rainfall events’ as the future, but those predictions tend to significantly lack probability estimates which makes me a little suspicious of those assumptions. The big ‘known unknown’ of course for Ireland is the Gulf Stream/North Atlantic Drift (the primary reason we are mild and wet, rather than, say, like St. Petersburg). Another one being the behaviour of the jet streams, which are important determinants in whether we get hot dry summers (like the French Atlantic coast) or wet and windy ones (Iceland).

        But there are lots of unknown unknowns too. The big one is the shocking appearance in the last few years of regular eastern Atlantic hurricanes (as opposed to hurricanes/cyclones that have swung on over from the Carribean). This seems to have caught the modellers by surprise. Spain got hit with an extremely rare hurricane this year.

        Reply
        1. makedoanmend

          Thx PK,

          I had searched Teagasc but their remit is simply to curb agricultural emissions in line with Kyoto and EU directives. Specific research into various emissions is pretty extensive, but the rest about climate change is just padding.

          Unfortunately, the EPA sight, linked to the government website, concerning climate change has expired. It seems the government post 2008 took the opportunity to cut research funding each year until 2012 when it seems to have to stopped altogether. Fine Gael had already done what President Trump is trying to do.

          And the EPA site also prominently mentions carbon trading in the section about climate change. How quaint.

          I’m searching the EU government sites but they are labyrinth in scope. I have to believe some meta information exists at this level but the difficultly in finding projections about Ireland is probably due to our own governments complete lack of concern. Strange since agriculture is the ultimate basis of our economy. And a fair proportion of the Fair City isn’t exactly that far above sea level.

          Reply
          1. PlutoniumKun

            The big problem in Ireland is that thanks to a particularly vengeful politician, An Foras Forbartha, the old government research body, was abolished in the early 1990’s and never replaced (it dared, among other things, point out that scattering homes across the countryside was far more expensive for the government than properly zoned and service land).

            This was a critical decision in destroying the governments ability to carry out independent scientific research. Supposedly, the research is done by the EPA, but their primary role is regulation, not primary research, likewise with Teagasc. The latter is more concerned with turning Ireland into the Saudi Arabia of milk, and if that means turning Saudi oil into milk, so be it.

            Successive politicians have always found it rather convenient that there is no genuinely independent primary research body in the country, this has been enormously damaging in environmental, transport and economics policy.

            Reply
            1. makedoanmend

              Cheers PK,

              I’m trying to remember who that vengeful politico might have been. There was (and still is) such a smorgasbord of such types that it’s hard to pin-point anyone exactly. Health, Finance, Legal regulation and Agri policy were all fundamentally disrupted or just ignored as benefited various business interests. I sat open-mouthed while the FF Agri Minister during the foot-and-mouth scare rather proudly announced that she didn’t know fundamental policy whilst Michelle Gildernew with little experience and fewer resources did a pretty fair job in the six counties. (And who’d mention the very same Agri Minister who thought nothing of saying that “unfortunantely older people were living longer”?)

              But, yeah, I can only imagine the backlash when someone suggested that house building needed to be regulated. What were they thinking? I particularly hate that they try and have all new builds in the countryside facing the road so that potential buyers can assess the “kerb” appeal.

              Reply
              1. PlutoniumKun

                I can’t recall the Minister right now, but it was in 1988 and was done under the guise of… wait for it… austerity. The first round. But everyone knew that the government simply didn’t like its reports. The foundation of the EPA was cover as it was officially merged in, but in reality it was abolished pretty much in its entirety. I know its a long time ago but I know researchers who are still embittered by what happened, and it ensured that other agencies were much less independent afterwards (it was very much the chicken slaughtered to scare the monkeys).

                Reply
      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I believe accurately predicting the climate for Europe and for portions of the Northeast region of North America is especially problematic due to the uncertainties about the AMOC. A quick search at realclimate.org on ‘AMOC’ turns up several recent research papers and the paper Hansen et al. from 2016 describes some interesting events in the Paleoclimate related to the AMOC current [www.atmos-chem-phys.net/16/3761/2016/] — look around the document link “End-Eemian cold event: evidence from North Atlantic sediment cores”. The AMOC does seem to be slowing — last estimate I recall was a slowing of roughly 15%.

        Reply
    2. Ignacio

      Yes, regional predictions migth be considered just possible scenarios and are very speculative. Nevertheless I believe that these exercises can do more to wake up peoplen on climate change than the typical speculations on millions $ lost or temperature rise. Always signalling those almost certain nasty surprises that have not been predicted.

      Reply
    1. pretzelattack

      in the medium run (over next 100 years, and that’s short run really), and assuming we don’t cap it at 2 celsius, yes. increasing ocean acidification alone would ensure that.

      Reply
    2. divadab

      Depends where you are. And what you do. The northern limit of wheat production is moving north. Is this “bad”? Or “good”? What a simplistic way of looking at things.

      Reply
      1. Robert Valiant

        Sometimes things aren’t as complicated or subtle as some wish to make them. I guess it’s a matter of perspective; one can always identify someone who might benefit from any possible outcome, even if everyone else suffers.

        Reply
      2. efschumacher

        Canada is in greater need of a wall at its Southern border than the US. They won’t be able to resist the Northward shift of 300 million people.

        Reply
    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I think the short answer is ‘yes’ although there is nothing ‘official’ about the effects of Climate Chaos. I believe it is accurate to say the overall consensus of our scientists is that all the effects of Climate Chaos are ‘bad’. I’m sure some Pollyanna can find a silver lining. The problems of human overpopulation of the Earth will be solved which a few of the survivors might consider a positive.

      Reply
  6. Louis Fyne

    to nitpick, ocean acidification should be #1. The world/regions can survive food shortages, desertification, storm surgrs.

    Complete breakdown of large-medium-small life in the oceans? We’re talking extinction on a scale not seen in millions of years.

    just saying. not holding my breath. world needs more wind, more nuclear, less consumption, less hydrocarbons. There is no magic bullet

    And since people can’t even debate rationally about expanding any form of nuclear energy, some environmental NGOs would rather risk total global ocean acidification than more Chernobyls or Fukushimas. just being honest.

    Life is about making the less risky choice. very few risk-free choices.

    Reply
    1. John Wright

      See https://harvardmagazine.com/2006/05/is-nuclear-power-scalabl-html

      This is a 12 year old article about scaling nuclear power.

      Perhaps the concerns raised in this (terrorism, waste disposal) are more problematic for nuclear in pitching the need for more nuclear to the public.

      This has this quote:

      “From the wider environmental perspective, meanwhile, even a tenfold expansion in nuclear capacity by
      2100 would by itself barely reduce the atmospheric burden of CO2 from a projected 900 ppm (parts per
      million) to 820 ppm, both catastrophically higher than today’s concentration of 380 ppm, according to
      Daniel Schrag.”

      Given this article is 12 years old, the nuclear industry has not changed public perception much in the interim.

      I expect little to change for any buildout of nuclear

      Lower consumption is about the only low cost and scalable option available..

      But, not gonna happen, because the economy and population must grow..

      Reply
  7. Wukchumni

    Altitude will also be a factor in areas of the country where variances come into play. Formerly formidable challenges to growing @ certain heights might be alleviated by climate change.

    Reply
    1. Dennis S.

      There is a theory that the AMOC (Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation) – a current in the Atlantic Ocean – slowing down may cause some of Europe to get colder, a lot colder. Looks like there is a good deal of uncertainty what the effect would be and whether it will continue to slow. Wikipedia article says no longer considered likely and that Europe can expect to get warmer too.

      Reply
  8. Roger

    A whole lot of worthless speculation and doom mongering.
    What we should be doing is getting ready for catastrophic global cooling, but to admit that would take some honesty, a quality sadly lacking in this debate.

    Reply
      1. Tony Wright

        Love the wry humour, Wukchumni, may you live a healthy life for as long as you wish, and keep contributing to NC so that I can smile whenever you hit the keyboard.

        Reply
    1. Tony Wright

      Where I live in Australia we now have bushfires of unprecedented severity and magnitude, the coral on the not so Great Barrier Reef is dying/ cooking because the ocean is getting warmer ,and we are increasingly subject to massive droughts and unprecedented floods, including the one that caused the drowning death of my stepson.
      Thanks to the indiscriminate use of CFCs punching holes in the ozone layer, nowmercifully no longer used, we can now tolerate less than half the time exposed to the sun than we could in the 1970’s. In 2004 I had a melanoma to show for that, fortunately discovered early and promptly cut out before it could spread.
      Which planet do you live on Roger?

      Reply
    2. Tony Wright

      Here in Australia, droughts, bushfires and floods of unprecedented severity and intensity, and the coral onthe Great Barrier Reef is cooking. Honestly.
      And my stepson drowned in a cyclone driven flood. Honestly.

      Reply
      1. Tony Wright

        Oh, and our exquisitly disfunctional Government (expletives deleted) is allowing yet another coalmine, so if you are worried about catastrophic global cooling come on down, we have plenty here you can buy and stockpile.

        Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well . . . Roger . . . if you are correct, then you have a tremendous contrarian investing opportunity laid out before you.

      Just figure out which places would still be livably warm during the catastrophic cooling, and invest in one of those places. And then go move there yourself.

      If you really do believe what you just wrote.

      Reply
  9. coboarts

    Think on how crowds behave in a panic. Then, think about the way all of this “all in” chorus of climate change is being presented. Add to that the tendency to think that 20, 30, 40 years from now all these changes will have occured/be occuring, but ‘I’ will be sitting where I am now. What makes you think that a bunch of young lads won’t have already broken into you and your beans long before then, because “fill-in-the-blank” – or whatever breathless panic the fearmongers of the day have raised to distract attention to focus it on whatever convenient other. If you can keep your head in a panic, and you discount most of what you hear, and you are fit to roll with the changes, you might just be left standing (somewhere).

    Reply
    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Your comment reads like a comment generated by one of those ‘AI’ comment generators. If you are a person you might work on it a little more for content and clarity.

      Reply
  10. freedomny

    Just wait till the banks start limiting refinances and 30 year mortgages based on conservative climate change forecasts. It’s really gonna hit the fan.

    Reply
  11. Shoes4Industry

    You have 22 months to eliminate all net new CO2 emissions globally in order to avoid human mass extinction within the next decade. 22 months.

    Reply

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