Saturday, April 11, 2009

Pacific Northwest Climate Change

Phillip Mote, head of the Oregon Climate Change Research Institute, recently spoke about likely effects of climate change in the Pacific Northwest.  WaterWired recapped his comments.  For those of us who live on either side of the Cascades, he didn't bring good news.  Be careful of buying property at the coast: sea level is rising.  The already soggy west folks can expect it to get soggier.  The snow lovers face declining winter snowpack.  For the already crackling dry denizens of the east can look forward to more frequent and intense forest fires.  And for salmon lovers everywhere, we will lose more salmon runs.  Here are his predictions:  

  1. some increase in annual precipitation but a decrease in winter snowpack, leading to summer water shortages;
  2. more frequent and intense forest fires;
  3. some additional loss of salmon runs, particularly in the inland Northwest; and
  4. rising sea levels, if we are very lucky, we could have as little as 8 inches, maybe as much as 26 feet, and if both Antarctic ice and Greenland ice melt, up to 48 feet.

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