Researchers from the University of Maryland and North Carolina State University analyzed hundreds of urban areas and matched them with places where today’s climate feels like the climate that’s expected in 60 years. Study co-author Matt Fitzpatrick, at the University of Maryland, says they included seven Iowa cities.
Fitzpatrick says, “All of the cities are basically trending to a southwest direction and they’re becoming more like places further to the south that are warmer and drier.” The study shows with no emissions reductions, Cedar Rapids will feel like today’s Ponca City, Oklahoma, which is about 9 degrees warmer and 18% drier in the summer. Things look a little better if emissions are reduced. Under one scenario, Cedar Rapids would feel like Atchison, Kansas, where summers are four-degrees warmer.
The study also found Des Moines will feel like Enid, Oklahoma, does now if fossil fuel emissions aren’t reduced. That city is about 9 degrees warmer and 21% drier in the summer. Fitzpatrick admits that may not seem like a huge difference, however: “These are still pretty high magnitude changes that infrastructure is going to have to deal with, natural systems are going to have to deal with and, of course, agriculture is going to have to deal with,” he says.
The researchers put together an interactive map where you can click on 540 cities across North America to see where a city’s expected climate in six decades matches a city that has that climate now. The study also included: Davenport, Dubuque, Iowa City, Sioux City and Waterloo.
(Thanks to Katie Peikes, Iowa Public Radio)