Northeast 2050 Forecast

This is Dr. Emily Schoerning with AR, and we’ve got your 2050 climate forecast for the Northeast.  Now, as the government defines it, the Northeast is a pretty big region.  You have to imagine there’s some difference between what you’re going to see forecast down in DC and up in Maine.  So bear with me, and we’ll do some broad strokes.

For our friends in the Northeast, I’ve gotta say, we’re looking at some real serious challenges.  There’s a lot that’s going to change.  I’m gonna share a little information about what big changes to expect about snow, the sea, and the cities.

First off, snow.  There’s gonna be a serious decrease in the amount of snow the Northeast will receive by 2050.  And this is less than thirty years away, so a lot of us listening, we’re probably gonna see this.  Most of the region isn’t going to have snow anymore in thirty years.  The spring is going to start earlier.  This means problems for your winter tourism, for making syrup, for your orchards- a whole lotta agricultural problems.  There will be a need to change up a fair amount of the crops in the region, and so that’s an opportunity there for a guy who’s looking ahead, but even for that guy I feel like we gotta take a minute to acknowledge the loss.  Losing the snow, there’s a lot of sadness there.  The white Christmas, sledding, just watching it fall outside the window when you’ve got everything you need at home.  That special quiet you get with the snow.  All that stuff is part of the stories we tell ourselves about who we are, and we’re going to need to make some new stories.  And that’s hard. 

It’s hard.  There are some serious things you need to know about the 2050 forecast for the Northeastern seaboard.  The ocean is changing in ways that are not good, and we can’t do much to stop the changes.  We can only prepare, and do the best we can.  Here’s what to expect.

The ocean is getting warmer a lot faster than the land.  Isn’t that weird?  But it’s happening, and so ocean fish and animals are moving north, to where it’s cooler.  So the species off the coast are going to change.  Now, in the Northeast, we’ve got some well-managed fisheries.  The hard work that’s been put into making America’s fisheries sustainable is going to help preserve a lot of commercially valuable catch, but it’s still got to be said.  There’s going to be a lot of unpredictable behavior in the ocean.  New species are going to move in, and a lot of the familiar sea creatures, they’re going to leave.  They’ll try and find homes that are cool enough for them to survive. 

Another thing about the ocean is the sea level is going to rise.  It’s going to rise a fair amount.  Three feet is looking like a not crazy estimate for 2050.  So any area that gets flooded now by a bad tide, that problem is not going to go away.  It is going to get worse, and it is going to have a big impact on coastal communities, and that includes a lot of valuable, developed property on the eastern seaboard.  Now I’m going to put a link alongside this video.  You can see on that tool, you type in your address, and you’ll be able to see where you fall along the projected new coastline.  There’s a lot of New York City right now that’s projected to go underwater.

Of course, you can imagine there are a lot of people working on that.  The city of Boston, I want to call out Boston for the work they’re doing on coastal resilience, to get their city ready for 2050.  And I can’t imagine New York is going to quietly slip underwater, that doesn’t sound like them.  But you know, there’s gonna be a lot of work to do.  Seawall construction is going to be a big business for some areas, and some places, it’s hard to see that it won’t just make better sense to let the sea come in.  You could do that nice, plan it out, get economically productive areas.  Get yourself an estuary instead of a garbage dump, put in structures that’ll make a good oyster bed.  There are different ways to think about all this, once we accept what is happening.

Let’s take a second to back up, wrap this all together.  These changes with the snow, with the sea, there’s some real sadness there.  And there are gonna be a lot of people who get stuck in that sadness, or put their head in the sand, and they’re gonna lose what they had and not have built anything new.  But I tell you, for some smart guys out there, for a guy willing to try a new thing, there are some real opportunities. 

For all of the Northeast, it’s very important to start accepting the changes.  They’re real, and they’re big.  Start accepting them, and start thinking about what you might gain.  What new types of businesses and services people are going to need to deal with these changes, what types of fruit trees are they growing in Virginia and Georgia, what can you do to make use of these changes?  Because every big scary change, every time there’s a lot of losers, somebody wins.  And I want you to be a winner.

This is Dr. Schoerning with AR, signing out.  Please help get the message out there.  There is hope.  We can prepare for what’s coming.  Let’s get ready.