Thursday, October 05, 2006

Making the Northeastern US More Habitable

It turns out that there is actually a silver lining in this ongoing Global Warming evolution. In a recent study published by the Union of Concerned Scientists, the likely impacts of climate change on the Northeastern states was dressed up in a fine bit of well-meaning glossed-up marketing literature.

They did a nice job of articulating likely temperature and seasonal changes complete with graphics that showed Massachusetts temperatures becoming more and more "North Carolina-like" over the next few decades. As if this were a problem.
Summer Changes for Massachusetts

From my perspective, ever since my grad school days at MIT, I've held out the hope of some day returning to live in the Boston area. It's a great town full of bookstores and great schools with fantastic research programs. But my southern California-raised wife has maintained a justifiably dubious attitude when confronted with the prospect of chipping the ice off of the car's door lock while standing in a freezing rain. In her world, snow and ice is something you drive to Lake Tahoe to see so that you can then return to proper civilization when the weekend hijinks are exhausted.

So all I need to do now is bide my time and hope for the "high emissions scenario" to come true. Of course we'll also have to deal with those pesky issues surrounding things like eroding coast lines as sea levels rise and over-strained power grids due to unprecedented air conditioning loads in the interim.

But if there is still a Boston to live in by 2050, at least it will be more like the balmy southeast. Perhaps for their next report, those concerned scientists might focus on the southeast which will either vanish under the waves or become sub-tropical if they really want to tug on the heart-strings.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

You perfectly articulate my concern with moving to a climate with a winter season by pointing out a situation (chipping the ice off of the car's door lock while standing in a freezing rain) that your temperate-climate-addicted wife didn't imagine first world citizens had to deal with.

I have visited Chicago once in the winter and returned with one question: "Why do people live here?"

Please keep in mindd that however balmy the temperature may become, you'd still have to work on the humidity -- another evil bugaboo from the Southern Californian standpoint.