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The US could warm 9°F this century if current trends continue

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has projected a likely 7°F increase in average global temperatures by 2100 if the current trend of high-CO2 emissions continues. The IPCC also projected some regional temperature increases — but not under that particular emissions scenario.

However, it is possible to make regional estimates for the high-emissions scenario by taking the IPCC projections and then using correlations between global and regional temperature from other studies to deduce what a regional projection for the US would probably look like.1 That is what Climate Central scientist Claudia Tebaldi did, and the overall increase was about 9°F.

For a more detailed look at US temperature increases region by region, see this microanimation. It is noteworthy that the greatest increases are likely to come in the west, where higher temperatures are already leading to more wildfires, more outbreaks of tree-killing bark beetles, earlier snowmelt and destruction of habitat for trout and other fish species, to name just a few effects.

  1. Santer, BD, TML Wigley, ME Schlesinger, and JFB Mitchell. "Developing Climate Scenarios from Equilibrium GCM Results." (PDF) Hamburg, Germany: Max Planck Institute fur Meteorologie, March 1990.