Summer Temperatures to Rise Drastically by 2100

Monday, November 28, 2016 (Issue #3)
by Ryan V. Stewart, Staff Writer/Website Editor

.   .   .

NOTICE: Corrections to this article have been made, namely: (1) The years of temperature predictions for various areas have been clarified, (2) the fact that Scott Pruit has been chosen to head the EPA under Trump, not Myron Ebell (the latter was merely appointed as the EPA’s transition team leader under Trump), has been noted, and (3) a hyperlink to the webpage associated with the “1,001 Blistering Future Summers” interactive has been placed at the bottom of the article.

These corrections are not reflected in the print version (Issue #3) of The Foothills Reporter.

.   .   .

If carbon emissions are not quickly and dramatically scaled down worldwide, average daily summer temperatures around the country—indeed, around the world—will be very different by the end of the century. This according to Climate Central, an independent scientific organization devoted to promulgating information about climate change.

According to an interactive chart developed by Climate Central’s researchers, Danbury, the average daily summer temperature of which, as of 2014, hovered around 80.65 degrees Fahrenheit, will feel more like Sunrise, FL, which stood at a balmy 90.41 F the same year, in 2100.

The chart, entitled “1001 Blistering Future Summers”, allows a user to punch in one of about a thousand cities from around the country and track the difference in average summer temperatures between 2014 (when the chart and its associated article were released online) and 2100. The chart compares the end-of-century temperature forecast for a given city with its closest approximation elsewhere in the country, as of 2014, and, for the currently-hottest cities in the U.S., with municipalities in today’s Middle East. Boulder, CO, for example, will feel more like Pharr, TX, whereas Phoenix, AZ, in 2014 an already-hot 103.96 degrees, will feel more like Kuwait City, at a broiling 114.08 F.

It should be noted that the chart’s predictions are based on a “business-as-usual” emissions scenario out to 2100, meaning that the projected temperatures result from the assumption that humans continue burning fossil fuels at the current rate (or faster) until the end of the 21st century. That means that, if humans reverse course, things won’t be quite so hot. “Quite” because, as many scientists have pointed out, there is a certain amount of global warming already “baked into” the climate system, so even if the world stopped emitting carbon today, global temperatures would continue to rise at a fast pace for a couple decades at least.

Unfortunately, there’s little indication that humans are prepared to scale down carbon emissions from electricity production, transport, and agriculture at the scale needed: The IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) Paris Climate Accord (also called the “Paris Agreement”), which came into force on November 4, and which 195 countries (including the United States) signed, is a good first step, but by itself is woefully inadequate to keep global warming below the levels scientists have determined to be very dangerous. (Variously defined as 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-Industrial times.)

Add to this the election of Donald Trump—who has vowed to scrap President Obama’s Clean Power Plan and pull the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement; plans to appoint Myron Ebell, a climate change denier, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s transition team; and intends to appoint Scott Pruitt, another climate change denier, as that agency’s Administrator—as president of the United States, and the future of Earth’s climate, and the global civilization it has sustained, becomes bleak indeed.

So, Danbury may very well be unrecognizable by the end of the century, compared to today’s standards, and cities like Pharr, TX and Phoenix, AZ may be as hot as some Middle Eastern municipalities are today. Perhaps we in America are relatively lucky, then, as, given the data, one has to wonder how the people in Kuwait City will fare, if at all, come 2100.

Visit the 1,001 Blistering Future Summers interactive {http://www.climatecentral.org/news/summer-temperatures-co2-emissions-1001-cities-16583} to learn more.

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