Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Northeast Climate Impacts Assessment

I'm at the University of New Hampshire, where we are getting a report on current situation of climate change. This study is also outlined at ClimateChoices .  Note: this website also looks at California. Cameron Wake is outlining the difference between two futures... one that could be catastrophic and the other, which can be adapted to. Under the high-emissions scenario, New Hampshire's summers will feel like those in North Carolina by the end of the century. 

A range of expected climate features can be predicted. For example, the models all point to more extreme precipitation events. The "100 year" floods might happen every ten years. These events also impact waste water treatment plants around the area.  Under the higher emissions scenario, most of the maple forests in the Northeast will be gone by the end of the century.

In terms of the IPCC (conservative) 17 inch sea level rise, the 100 year flood plain puts large parts of Boston at risk. The current 100 year flood plain becomes the 2 year flood plain. One event like the 100 year flood under the new sea level would cost Boston 70-90 billion dollars in damage.

All of these changes can be, at least in part, avoided if we reduce carbon emissions in the short term.

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