Researchers Predict Local-Scale Climate Change Shifts

August 20, 2008

On Aug. 13, 2008, an international team of researchers announced what they say is the first objective analysis of the combined effects of climate change-driven shifts in temperature and precipitation at the local level. They used their model to predict the relative impacts across the continental US and nearby areas.

Their work is on tap to be published soon in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. For a copy of the study ("Climate Change Hotspots in the United States"), contact Purdue University's Noah Diffenbaugh, 765-490-7288.

The scenario currently seen as most viable by the researchers shows that the areas most affected would be southern California and much of the western portion of northern Mexico; much of the US Southwest; about half of the Pacific Northwest (especially the Puget Sound area); portions of New England and New York; and south Florida and much of the Caribbean. Among the least-affected areas would be portions of the Southeast and some of the upper Great Plains. The predicted changes are expected by the year 2070 or so, though the researchers say there are strong indications that these trends will take shape much sooner.

They are now working on a global model, with similar detail, which may become public in a year or so.