The Union of Concerned Scientists released a report this week that may strike a bit of fear into the eyes of those living in and around Chicago, Illinois.
The Chicago Tribune ran a story this morning detailing the report that says more than 50 days per calendar year may exceed 90-degrees in the Windy City.
The Tribune article reports more:
Illinois farmers would suffer from droughts, pests and flooding that would more than outweigh any potential benefits from a longer growing season caused by warmer temperatures. Heat stress in cattle could force the state’s dairy industry to migrate north.
“Global warming represents an enormous challenge to Illinois’ way of life and its residents’ livelihoods,” the authors write in conclusion.
More than 50 days a year would top 90 degrees in Chicago by mid-century, the report warns, up from a historical average of 15 per year. The city would average a heat wave per year on par with the city’s 1995 scorcher, which authorities blamed for hundreds of deaths. Once every five years, the city would endure a heat wave similar to Europe’s in 2003, which the authors project would kill more than 1,000 residents.
By century’s end, the report projects, every Chicago summer would be hotter than 1983, the hottest summer on record for the city. Illinois’ climate would resemble East Texas today, the report says.
The projections stem from an analysis of climate-modeling projections by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in a 2007 report.
The report includes two scenarios: one with heat-trapping gas emissions continuing to increase along current trend lines and one where countries take major steps to limit emissions.
Emissions limits would stave off many of the worst effects of warming in the middle and long term, the report concludes. But they would barely affect warming in the next three decades — including a more than 50 percent increase in summer days topping 90 degrees — because that warming has been essentially “locked in” by previous emissions.
“What we really have control over,” said Melanie Fitzpatrick, a climate scientist for the Union of Concerned Scientists, “is our temperatures in the middle and end of the century.”