Remember last winter’s polar vortex, which had some of us wondering if it would ever end? Well it wasn’t enough to keep 2014 from becoming the hottest year on record since 1880, the year that temperature record keeping began. In fact, not a single urban area in the U.S. experienced record cold in 2014, according to www.climatecentral.org.
The global record coldest year was in 1909 and tied in 1911, since then we have experienced 19 new global heat record years. The global average temperature has risen by 1.5°F since 1880. In the U.S., temperatures have risen about 2°F since 1895 with a large portion of that rise coming since 1970. If greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, the U.S. average temperature could climb up another 10°F by the end of the 21st century.
With rising temperatures come rising sea levels. As you ponder the best places to live as the impacts of climate change become more intense, be sure it’s away from the coastlines, as sea levels are rising faster than previously thought, according to a new study. Better yet, maybe we should stop delaying the inevitable and move to some prime underwater real estate while we have the chance. Shimizu Corporation in Japan is working on plans for an underwater ‘Ocean Spiral’ city that would house homes, stores, offices and a hotel.
If you prefer to stay on land, Clifford Mass, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at University of Washington, has mapped the likely climate change effects across the US, including changes in water availability, tropical storms and heat waves. Find out the the climate impacts that will be affecting your state here.