Scientists have figured out the climate forecast for the year 2080 in hundreds of cities across North America, and it looks like it’s going to get a whole lot warmer in all of them.
If humanity continues to emit greenhouse gases at the same rate it does today, in 60 years Los Angeles’ climate will most closely resemble the current climate of Cabo San Lucas, at the southern tip of Baja California in Mexico. Portland, which averages 155 rainy days per year, will feel like Sacramento, the California state capital, where only 59 days of the year have rain in them. And the New York City of the future will be like the Jonesboro, Arkansas, of today, according to a new study in Nature Communications.
“From a beach-day perspective, warmer might be better, but it is not better for our food production and in some areas it could lead to more pests, invasive species and disease,” said study leader Matthew Fitzpatrick, a biogeographer at the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science.
Aedes mosquitoes, which transmit Zika, dengue and other deadly viruses, prefer warmer weather and may be able to spread into new areas of the U.S. as temperatures climb, scientists said.
On the West Coast, warmer temperatures are associated with more smog, which can be dangerous to people with asthma and allergies, and a decline in water quality.
Scientists have been warning about rising temperatures for years. In the new work, Fitzpatrick and his colleague Robert Dunn of North Carolina State University set out to make these projections more tangible thanks to a technique called climate analog mapping. It involves matching the expected future climate of one city with the current climate of another.