Hot enough for ya? Get used to it

Downtown St. Paul in 2070

Downtown St. Paul in 2070

The evocatively named Union of Concerned Scientists has released a new study warning what unchecked climate change will mean for specific states, including Minnesota, and the scenario isn't pretty--unless you're really into tanning or a lemonade entrepreneur. According to the Ph.Ds with furrowed brows, if heat-trapping emissions continue to rise at their current rate, Minnesota would see:

  • summer temperatures rise an average of three degrees in the near future and as much as 12 degrees by 2070. Every summer in the state would be hotter than the hottest summer recorded so far. (And 80% of summers will be hotter even if emissions are lowered.)
  • in the Twin Cities, nearly 70 days every summer hotter than 90 degrees (compared to 12 now) by 2070. And 28 of those days, on average, would be over 100 degrees (compared to two now). (With lowered emissions, those numbers would be about 35 days and seven days, respectively.)
  • by mid-century in the Twin Cities, a heat wave almost every summer like the one in Chicago in 1995 that contributed to the deaths of more than 450 people.
  • a significant increase in smog during the summers
  • heavy rains (more than two inches in a day) increasing by 66% in the next few decades and doubling by 2070 (even if emissions are lowered). Spring downpours will mean more flooding.
  • one-third fewer days of snow toward the end of the century.
  • Heat and drought stress on crops. Agricultural losses could be severe, and the value of farmland could fall by 25% by mid century and 69% after 2070.

If that news has got you down, you can always look at the bright side: Most of us will be dead by 2070, so it will be our children's problem.

*Interesting random factoid: Eight Midwestern states (from Minnesota south to Missouri and east to Ohio) together produce more greenhouse-gas emissions than every country in the world except Russia and China.