IF WORLDWIDE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS CONTINUE AT THE CURRENT RATE, DISRUPTIVE CLIMATE CHANGE WILL BRING MANY MORE DAYS ABOVE 90 DEGREES TO VIRGINIA.
From the new book Virginia Climate Fever: How Global Warming Will Transform Our Cities, Shorelines, and Forests University of Virginia Press.
Number of days each year above 90°F
PROJECTED 90°+F TEMPERATURES FOR VIRGINIA LOCALITIES WITH “BUSINESS AS USUAL” GLOBAL EMISSIONS
The table below shows how many days of 90 degrees Fahrenheit or hotter are projected for Virginia cities and counties as the planet heats up.
Climatologist Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech derived the data from the average of eleven best-choice climate models in use internationally.
The area around and including Richmond, for example, had 36 days that were 90 degrees or higher each year, on average, during the period 1971 through 2000.
But the projection is that Richmond will will see 99 days that are 90°F or over each year, on average, by around the year 2065, if the world continues its “business as usual” greenhouse gas emissions. That’s more than three months of 90°+ days each year.
Each figure given is the LOWER end of the range of values depicted on the map above.
The map and the table show the effects of climate change on temperatures county by county, but Hayhoe cautions that they should be viewed less precisely instead: as projections for small clusters of counties.
In the “business as usual” greenhouse gas emissions scenario used here, midrange climate models project that average global temperatures are likely to climb an additional 5.4 degrees F by the years around 2065.
The optimistic—some would say unrealistic—scenario: if greenhouse gas emissions decline very sharply in the near future, global mean temperature projections reach +3.6 degrees, but only well past midcentury. Then they begin to level off as 2100 approaches.