North America Predicted to Freeze Less

A new climate projection map released on March 31 by scientists from Climate Central shows predictions for the next nine decades. The projection map depicts northern states of the continental United States experiencing fewer and fewer freezing temperatures.


According to the prediction map, over the next 90 years the likelihood of temperatures reaching below freezing in March throughout many of the northern states drops dramatically. In some instances, such as in Wisconsin, Michigan, New York, South Dakota and Oregon, there won’t even be below freezing temperatures in March.

And let’s not kid ourselves. There will be those – comedians and layman alike – who will tout this as a boon for humanity; or at least humanity within the top third of the USA.

“No more having to dig my car out in the morning,” says 38 year old Wisconsin electrician Dave Whosamawhatsit.

“Finally,” says Janet Blogs ne Smith, “no slipping on the ice as I walk past the Garden.”

There will be those people. The same who sung “we were just being rewarded” when confronted with “the world getting warmer” will be out in droves.

But there are significant downsides to the likelihood of earlier thawing. Gardeners, farmers and golfers might all be singing praises, but those downstream aren’t going to be as happy. Research has already liked early snowmelt years to drier rivers and forests later in the summer, both of which combine to increase the likelihood of wildfire activity, which is already predicted to increase with further warming.

Scientists also suggest that cold-water stream life like trout will suffer, as well as farmers who are relying on irrigation to water their farms.

“These maps imply future changes the research community is only beginning to appreciate,” said Climate Central scientist Dr. Ben Strauss.

The future projections that are the basis for the interactive Google Map overlay – which includes the ability to watch projections with high and low emissions stats – are based on results from 16 different global climate models. As Climate Central states on their website, taking information from so many different models is “like getting help from 16 different experts.” Additionally, the models in use in the project were used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its latest major report.

A visit to the website will provide not only the map, but a table with average March temperatures below freezing for 23 American states. The table excludes those states without nozero baseline values and Alaska and Hawaii.

Image Credit: Climate Central

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