Oliver MilmanMon 24 Sep 2018 09.00 BST
Heatwaves, hurricanes and floods will make some places in the US inhospitable
Climate change is fueling heatwaves, hurricanes and floods, gradually making certain places in the US challenging, if not outright miserable, to live in.
Scientists, and some members of the public, are starting to question where in the US will remain comfortable to call home.
The answer, broadly speaking, is north and maybe west. Florida has seen a population boom in recent decades but the southern portion of the state is on course to be submerged by rising seas. The Gulf coast will get supercharged hurricanes, while the south-west and south-east US will be baked by increasingly hostile heat.
“Areas towards the north and away from the ocean and that central corridor where you get tornadoes probably look best,” said Vivek Shandas, an expert on climate change’s impact on cities at Portland State University. Shandas recommends looking to live in a “band roughly above the 42nd parallel” – a line of latitude that divides New York and Pennsylvania and forms the southern borders of Oregon and Idaho.
Places close to a reliable source of water without being flood-prone as the seas rise are attractive, such as areas near the Great Lakes and the Pacific north-west. “Seattle doesn’t break 90F that often so it’ll be nothing like Phoenix in terms of tolerability of heat,” said Shandas. “Places like Portland, Oregon, and Boise, Idaho, will be relatively safeguarded, apart from a bit of wildfire smoke.”
There will be bastions elsewhere. “Cincinnati, for example, is surprisingly good,” said Shandas. “It’s close to the Great Lakes, away from hurricanes, away from the eastern seaboard. It will get more heatwaves, but then again we all will.”