So what conclusion does one inevitably reach by studying the IPCC reports, the U.S. Climate Assessment, and the climate literature?
The Northwest is the place to be during global warming.
- Temperatures will rise more slowly than most of the nation due to the Pacific Ocean (see below)
- We will have plenty of precipitation, although the amount falling as snow will decline (will fall as rain instead). But we can deal with that by building more reservoir and dam capacity (and some folks on the eastern slopes of the Cascades have proposed to do exactly that).
- The Pacific Ocean will keep heat waves in check and we don’t get hurricanes.
- Sea level rise is less of a problem for us due to our substantial terrain and the general elevation rise of our shorelines. Furthermore, some of our land is actually RISING relatively to the sea level because we are still recovering from the last ice age (the heavy ice sheets pushed the land down and now it is still rebounding).
- There is no indication that our major storms…cyclone-based winds (like the Columbus Day Storm)… will increase under global warming.
- Increased precipitation may produce more flooding, but that will be limited to river valleys and can be planned for with better river management and zoning.
And I think we got it great already! No hurricanes, no tornadoes, very few earthquakes, very little flooding, no Polar Vortexes, superb summers, mild winters…just a few volcanoes around that can kill us all.