What does climate change mean to you? Maybe you think about polar bears stranded on a melting ice block.
But climate change is going to be a lot more personal to U.S. residents than that, according to a new analysis released today by The Nature Conservancy. Longer, drier droughts could wither crops and push family farms out of business. Hotter summer temperatures could double heat-related deaths in America’s cities. Water levels in the Great Lakes could drop by two feet, impeding shipping from America’s manufacturing center.
Science has been telling us that the world’s climate is changing and warning us about the risks that more climate change will pose . And yet, for too many Americans, there is still an unfortunate disconnect between the impacts of climate change and their jobs, homes, health and families.
One reason for that disconnect is that few of us have easy access to the latest scientific data on climate change. And even fewer of us are able to translate that science into understanding about likely on-the-ground impacts.
That is why The Nature Conservancy has launched the Climate Wizard, a website that, for the first time ever, allows you explore past and projected climate data on your home computer.
With Climate Wizard’s interactive maps, you can zoom in on your home state – or any other state or country – to see how temperatures and precipitation may change annually, seasonally, and even by month under a range of greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. You can also see how temperature and precipitation have already changed where you live.
Using the Climate Wizard, the Conservancy developed the analysis released today, which shows just how much temperature change each of the United States can expect to see in the next 100 years.
The bad news is that, if current trends continue, many states could experience temperature increases of up to 10 degrees F – exposing families, business and communities to some of the worst impacts of climate change.
The good news is that we can change those trends by taking strong action now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and stop global warming.
By helping people see for themselves how climate may change where they live, global warming will no longer be about polar bears in far off places. It will be about your hometown and your family.
But don’t take my word for it. Go to The Climate Wizard and see for yourself.
(image credit: Nicole Zirk)