Catching up with some of the stuff that got lost in the Copenhagen hubbub, this morning I stumbled on a major new effort to provide interactive climate data and visualisations — the Climate Wizard. This amazing tool is the web front end to a collection of temperature and precipitation data and model projections, and allows the user to create custom maps of climate change over the last fifty years, and projections for the 2050s and 2080s for three IPCC scenarios across 16 models. It provides state-level detail for the USA, but coarser regional and global maps for the rest of the world. It can also create ensembles of model projections on the fly:
The wizard is a lot of fun to play with. The picture above shows what the models indicate the rainfall will be in the US in as this century ends. You can see 2 very dark blue bands indicating the areas of greatest precipitation in the US. They correspond with the Olympic and Coastal Ranges along the coast of Washington and the Cascade Range in the interior of Washington and Oregon. In fact, these models indicate that the precipitation in these areas will be greater than it was during the last 50 years.
Seattle, Portland and the Willamette valley are nestled between these two large sources of water. The Pacific Northwest could be in as important a position with regards to water usages in the US as Texas and California were with regards to oil in the 20th Century. Some parts of the Southeast also see some increase but the total number of inches is no where near what these two ranges get. And most of the Southwest would get much less water.
Only parts of the tropics will get this much rain.
One reason I moved to the Pacific Northwest 25 years ago was that I figured that it would be the only place along the West Coast that would not have to worry about water. Looks like the same could be true by the end of the century. Perhaps Washington state should be discussing its immigrant policy now.
Of course, this is based on the average of several models. That is it shows what things look like where half the models are better and half are worse. If we look at the ‘worst’ case model we get this picture of 2080:
Still lots of rain out here. Not much elsewhere. I hope this model is way off because otherwise everyone will be moving here.
And don’t even look at the temperature changes. Eastern Washington in summer will be as hot as Houston is now. The Seattle to Portland area, though, still remains mild.