What happens to our future climate will mostly be determined by the effectiveness our individual and collective actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The changes we’ll see in temperature, precipitation, and extreme weather could vary greatly, but certain changes are already occurring and will continue in the future due to the current amounts of GHGs already in the atmosphere.
In the Northeast region, these changes include rising average temperatures, which mean longer, hotter, drier summers and shorter, warmer, rainier winters; more intense storms with longer dry streaks in between, meaning both more common inland and coastal flooding and more drought; and lastly, rises in sea levels that could reach up to several feet by the end of the century, further increasing flooding. These changes are relatively certain, no matter how much we reduce emissions in the future.
All climate action plans should include a general assessment of climate trends. At the Center for Resilient Metro-Regions, we believe in balancing data: we need enough to make decisions, but not so much that it becomes overwhelming. Although we don’t include detailed technical climate projections, we support communities that want to know more about what might lie ahead. For more in-depth projections, we recommend exploring the Massachusetts Climate Action Tool, which provides summaries of anticipated and possible changes and impacts on ecosystems.