RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Your kids or grand-kids could experience much hotter Richmond Summers by 2100, according to a new study published by non-profit climate change research group Climate Central.
The study aims to help visualize on a map what global warming will mean for more than a thousand cities in the United States. Richmond is one of the cities mapped, taking our current average Summer high temperature and comparing it to another U.S city’s early July average high temperature. Pharr in far south Texas has an average high temperature in early July of almost 97 degrees.
If the current warming trend for Richmond continues, by the end of the century a “typical” Summer day in RVA could feel more like one does now in south Texas.
You can explore more than a thousand other cities using this interactive map:
If you play with this interactive map long enough, you’ll probably notice a common thread. Most cities in the U.S. will feel more like Texas or Florida by 2100, based on these calculations.
Researchers at Climate Central say, “It’s important to remember a couple of caveats about this analysis. First, we looked only at summer high temperatures. We didn’t address dewpoints or humidity, which also play into how uncomfortable a summer day feels. Second, these temperature projections assume we stay on the same greenhouse-gas emissions path that we are currently on. If we do find a way to make significant emissions cuts, the warming will not be as drastic.”
Of course, we know humidity makes a big difference here in central Virginia! We, like Pharr, are also close to a big moisture source. They have the Gulf of Mexico. We have the Bay and the Atlantic Ocean to our east. Wind direction can play a crucial role in our daily sensible weather, as can cloud-cover and precipitation. Remember, water vapor is the biggest greenhouse gas in Earth’s atmosphere, and we have it to thank for not being an ice planet!
Heat-trapping greenhouse gases (like those produced from burning fossil fuels) are the primary reason for rising global average temperatures in recent decades, attributed predominately to human activities and population growth since the Industrial Revolution.
CLICK HERE to read the full report.
DESCRIPTION OF ANALYSIS: Summer high temperatures (average of daily maximum temperatures for June, July, and August) were calculated with 1986-2005 data from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, http://prism.oregonstate.edu, accessed 1 July 2014. Projected summer high temperatures were calculated for 1001 U.S. cities for the period 2081-2099, based on the RCP8.5 emissions scenario, which is the high emissions scenario used in the IPCCs 5th assessment report. This is essentially a continuation of our current emissions trends through the end of the century. The temperature change was calculated through that period using a downscaled multi-model ensemble approach (Downscaled CMIP5 Climate Projections archive at http://gdo-dcp.ucllnl.org/downscaled_cmip_projections/) and that number was added to the current temperature (from PRISM) to get the future temperature.