The Pacific Northwest could be a ‘climate refuge'

UW atmospherics scientist Cliff Mass says that as global warming takes hold, we'll be better off than the rest of the lower 48 states.

SEATTLE - If you think living in the Pacific Northwest looks good now, consider the next 100 years.

Atmospherics scientist Cliff Mass of the University of Washington said that as global warming takes hold, we'll be better off than the rest of the lower 48 states.

According to Mass, global warming will affect different parts of the US in different ways.

“The Southwest United States is emphatically going to get drier,” he said. “The models are really all on board about that, and they start off with a water resource problem right now. I mean they have too many people living in an arid area with massive agriculture, so they're already on the edge and so things are not going to get better there. On the other hand, we expect precipitation to actually increase here in the Northwest.”

Mass says much of the country will see record heat, with average highs climbing between five and 10 degrees by century’s end.

“So you'll see record breaking temperatures -- day after day of these heat waves, especially in the summertime,” Mass said.

Then there's the issue of rising sea levels.

“We're talking about probably a one- to two-foot rise during the rest of the century,” Mass said. “Now if you're in Florida, which is only at sea level, there's going to be flooding.”

This is true for a lot of places around the Gulf of Mexico or the East Coast.

“But here in the Northwest, our land is actually rising, and that has to do with the last Ice Age,” he said.

Finally, Mass said the parts of the country that experience hurricanes and tropical storms may see the most intense storms get worse.

“They derive their energy from the warmth of the oceans, and so you'll see more Category 4 and 5 storms in some of these areas,” Mass said. “We don't have to worry about that because we never get hurricanes!”

Now before we get a repeat of the Dust Bowl migration, please remind your out-of-state friends the great Northwest is also home to volcanoes, earthquakes and our legendary rainy season.

“If anything, there will be a little more rain, so that won't be so great,” Mass said. “Maybe that will discourage people.”

 

Evening is your guide to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.   Watch it weeknights at 7:30 on KING 5 TV or streaming live on KING5.com.  Connect with Evening via FacebookTwitterInstagram or email: eveningtips@king5.com.

© 2017 KING-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment
TRENDING VIDEOS
More Stories