How hot will Columbus be after 100 more years of climate change?

acarlson@ledger-enquirer.comJuly 10, 2014 

Georgia summers get a lot of heat -- sorry -- for their oppressive humidity and tendency to linger well into September. But a new interactive imagines something worse: how much worse the summer will be in 2100, after almost another century of climate change.

Climate Control has put together a survey of more than 1,000 American cities that forecasts what the summers will feel like, and what cities around the world will be most comparable.

"On average, summer heat is projected to warm 7-10 (degrees), though some cities will have summers 12 (degrees) warmer than they are now," Climate Control's report said.

That means that in 2100, Columbus' summers will hit averages of 100 degrees and will feel like those in Laredo, Texas, now. Las Vegas, meanwhile, will hit 111 degrees -- as hot as Saudi Arabia's capital city, Riyadh, now.

Projecting temperature changes at a local level is scientifically tricky. This model comes with some caveats, as it depends on the assumption that "current emissions trends continue unabated," increasing through 2080. These forecasted temperatures also do not include humidity or dewpoint.

The underlying logic, however, is widely settled among scientists: climate change is man-made; and it is, among other changes, heating things up; and it is continuing.

As an international panel of scientists reported last year, “It is extremely likely that human influence on climate caused more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010. There is high confidence that this has warmed the ocean, melted snow and ice, raised global mean sea level and changed some climate extremes in the second half of the 20th century.”

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