Study: Climate change will make Pittsburgh feel southern by 2080 |

Study: Climate change will make Pittsburgh feel southern by 2080

Stephen Huba
The Pittsburgh skyline at sunset viewed from above Point State Park, Monday, June 22, 2015.
Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism
Northeast Arkansans go tubing down a river to stay cool.

Pittsburgh, meet Jonesboro, Ark.

A recent study by the journal Nature Communications says Pittsburgh’s climatic analog in the year 2080 is Jonesboro, a city in northeast Arkansas, if current climate change trends continue.

That Pittsburgh will feel like a city in the South may be alarming to some, but the study’s authors say the comparison is meant to help people grasp the potential effects of climate change.

“While scientists share great concern for the expected severe impacts of climate change, the same is not necessarily true of the general public,” authors Matthew Fitzpatrick and Robert Dunn said. “Translating and communicating these abstract predictions in terms of present-day, local and concrete personal experiences may help overcome some barriers to public recognition of the risks (and opportunities) of climate change.”

The scientists used climate-analog mapping to describe the practical impact of climate change, matching 540 North American cities with locations they will most feel like 60 years from now.

The typical summer in Jonesboro is 10 degrees warmer and 17.6% drier than in Pittsburgh, according to the study. Winters are about 45% wetter.

For example, the average high temperature in Jonesboro in July is 91 and the average low is 71, according to U.S. Climate Normals from 1981-2010. By comparison, the average high in Pittsburgh in July is 82 and the average low is 63.

Precipitation averages also vary widely. Average rainfall in Jonesboro in March is 4.5 inches, compared to 3.1 inches in Pittsburgh.

The authors note that such changes are well within the lifetime of children living today, so perhaps it’s time to learn how the people in northeast Arkansas stay cool.

Stephen Huba is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Stephen at 724-850-1280, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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