By Lauren Bray, edhat staff
A new scientific study reports Santa Barbara’s climate in 2080 will feel most like today’s climate near Glendale, California.
This is an estimate based on a new study in Nature Communications that finds modern analogs for what the climates of 540 North American cities will look like in about 60 years. On average, the closest analog for the 2080 climate for each city was about 528 miles away, and mostly to the south.
The prediction for Santa Barbara is that it will be 4.9°F (2.7°C) warmer and 78.7% wetter than a summer, just like Glendale. To compare, Santa Maria’s climate will be most like Rodolfo Sánchez Taboada, Mexico as its 3.8°F (2.1°C) warmer and 38.5% drier than winter in Santa Maria currently.
For other areas of California, Paso Robles will feel like Fontana, California; Monterey will more closely resemble Villa del Prado 2da Sección, Mexico; San Franciso will be akin to Palos Verdes Estates; and Los Angeles will be like Las Palmas, Mexico. To compare the rest of the United States, New York City will have a climate much like Lake Shore, Maryland. Seattle will look more like Portland and D.C. will be like Paragould, Arkansas. An interactive map to search all cities is found here.
Matt Fitzpatrick, an ecologist at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and one of the two authors on the study, hopes this model will help people see how climate change will impact all of us. “I kept constantly hearing in the media about a 3°C increase in mean global temperature, or about the Paris Climate According keeping the change to 1.5°C. That just never resonated with me,” he said in an interview with Popular Science.
Overall, the majority of the California coast starts to look further south into Mexico, while most of the East Coast will resemble the Southern U.S. The study points to the big difference emissions makes in our climate as every city will have a significant change.
Perhaps the most frightening figure is some of these numbers are unable to compare to any weather that currently exists. While this study focuses on the western hemisphere above the equator, the researchers used a mathematical equation to determine the closest city above the equator. “Had we looked globally we may have found a closer analog in India or Africa,” Fitzpatrick says. “But once you do that, people aren’t gonna know what some town in India feels like,” reports Popular Science.
Fitzpatrick also notes that his grandchildren are unlikely to recognize the climate he lives in today, but hopes his work can help people realize the impact of that change and give them a “wow moment” to recognize the seriousness of this issue.