Turtle Island may soon become turtle soup.
The temperatures of Texas, Mississippi and even Abu Dhabi by end century could be the summer norm in Indian country, according to a new report by the data-analysis site Climate Central.
By 2100, Rapid City, South Dakota—in the vicinity of the Pine Ridge Reservation—will reach the average summer temperatures of Cedar Park, Texas, which means a rise from 81 degrees to 93 degrees, Climate Central reported. Onondaga County in central New York State will be like current summers in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, at 90 degrees (up from 79). And Tucson, Arizona, home of the Tohono O’odham Nation, which today already hits 99 degrees in summer, will get as high as 109 degrees—temperatures commonly seen in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. Meanwhile, Farmington, New Mexico, which is Navajo territory, will be more like Tucson. Even normally cool Seattle, near the Puget Sound tribes, will rise from its 73-degree norm to temperatures of 83 degrees, which are today more common in Placentia, California.
If current emission trends continue, Climate Central said, these are the temperatures we can expect in Indian country.
While many predictions and warnings have been issued regarding the temperature changes, Climate Central makes it real, offering an analysis of what it will mean in our own backyards. Summer temperatures will average 7 to 10 degrees warmer than today, with some cities as much as 12 degrees hotter by the end of the 21st century, Climate Central said.
“Summer temperatures in most American cities are going to feel like summers now in Texas and Florida—very, very hot,” said Alyson Kenward, lead researcher of the analysis, in which Climate Central studied projected changes in average summer high temperatures for June, July and August.
In all, the climate organization mapped out future summer temperatures for 1,001 cities in the U.S., using the average daily maximum temperature for summer months, the site said in a statement, and matching them to locations that have those temperatures today. It got its emissions estimate from the 5th Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment to extrapolate.
It builds on the June 2012 report “The Heat Is On,” which discussed warming trends. The new report, “1,001 Blistering Future Summers,” furnishes an interactive map where one can type in one’s city and get it matched to its “future self.”
These estimates don’t even include humidity and dewpoint, which greatly contribute to how uncomfortable summer heat can feel, Climate Central noted in its statement accompanying the new report.