Washington, D.C. will feel like present-day Mississippi by 2080, researchers say
In one generation, the climate of many American cities will experience a noticeable shift.
- A recent study used climate data, both current and projected, to examine how the climates of North American cities might change over the course of the next generation.
- In one scenario, the climates of many cities will resemble that of locations about 500 miles away, mostly to the south.
- The study aims to present the long-term effects of climate change in a personal, tangible way.
By 2080, the climate of many American cities will resemble that of locations currently hundreds of miles away, according to new research from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.
A recent study — published in Nature Communications — examined 540 urban areas across the U.S. and Canada, and for each compiled current and projected climate data along the measures of minimum and maximum temperature, and seasonal precipitation. For the projected data, the researchers used two hypothetical scenarios: the global community continues unmitigated on its current trajectory, or it enacts measures to contain emissions and, therefore, global warming.
The results showed that both scenarios will produce noticeable changes to the climate of many cities, but continuing on the current path will bring more noticeable changes.
"Under current high emissions the average urban dweller is going to have to drive more than 500 miles to the south to find a climate like that expected in their home city by 2080," study author Matt Fitzpatrick of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science told Phys.org. "Not only is climate changing, but climates that don't presently exist in North America will be prevalent in a lot of urban areas."
In the unmitigated scenario (pictured above in section b), the results show that many North American cities will experience climate conditions currently seen in locations about 500 miles away, and mostly to the south.
"The climate of cities in the northeast will tend to feel more like the humid subtropical climates typical of parts of the Midwest or southeastern U.S. today — warmer and wetter in all seasons," the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science wrote on its website. "For instance, Washington, D.C. will feel more like northern Mississippi. The climates of western cities are expected to become more like those of the desert Southwest or southern California — warmer in all seasons, with changes in the amount and seasonal distribution of precipitation. San Francisco's climate will resemble that of Los Angeles."
Visualizing the effects of climate change
The authors wrote that these kinds of climate analyses are useful because they help frame the projected effects of climate change in ways that are personal and tangible, and less abstract.
"It is difficult for individuals to detect and conceptualize gradual changes in climate, particularly where natural variability is high and when expected changes in climate are couched solely in numbers (mean temperatures, precipitation variability, and so forth)," the researchers wrote. "A crucial next step is to join with educators, psychologists, and social scientists to assess the extent to which climate-analog mapping can help increase climate change engagement and awareness."
Still, it can be hard to recognize the effects of climate change — even as they're happening — because we're not quite skilled at noticing subtle changes over time, as Daniel Glaser, science gallery director at King's College London, told The Guardian:
"...our experience of temperature is relative: if you place one hand in hot water and the other in cold water and then put both in a lukewarm bath, you can't tell how warm the bath actually is – your cold hand will feel it as boiling hot, while your hot hand will feel it as soothingly chilly.
"So gradual changes in climate are eclipsed by our short-term responses to the weather, which fluctuates every day. We also adapt to long-term changes, so they are harder to notice: you'll immediately jump out of a scalding hot bath, while if you get into a lukewarm one and keep adding hot water, you might not even realise when it's verging on dangerous (if you ignore the rising water levels and rubber ducks in distress). Let that be a warning to the climate sceptics."
Research in plant neurobiology shows that plants have senses, intelligence and emotions.
- The field of plant neurobiology studies the complex behavior of plants.
- Plants were found to have 15-20 senses, including many like humans.
- Some argue that plants may have awareness and intelligence, while detractors persist.
E-cigarettes may be safer than traditional cigarettes, but they come with their own risks.
- A new study used an MRI machine to examine how vaping e-cigarettes affects users' cardiovascular systems immediately after inhalation.
- The results showed that vaping causes impaired circulation, stiffer arteries and less oxygen in their blood.
- The new study adds to a growing body of research showing that e-cigarettes – while likely safer than traditional cigarettes – are far from harmless.
Since the idea of locality is dead, space itself may not be an aloof vacuum: Something welds things together, even at great distances.
- Realists believe that there is an exactly understandable way the world is — one that describes processes independent of our intervention. Anti-realists, however, believe realism is too ambitious — too hard. They believe we pragmatically describe our interactions with nature — not truths that are independent of us.
- In nature, properties of Particle B may be depend on what we choose to measure or manipulate with Particle A, even at great distances.
- In quantum mechanics, there is no explanation for this. "It just comes out that way," says Smolin. Realists struggle with this because it would imply certain things can travel faster than light, which still seems improbable.