Climate change in Puget Sound

The University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group recently published a report (pdf)  projecting effects of greenhouse gas emissions on the Puget Sound region. For every significant metric, from temperature and snowpack to river flows and marine acidification, things are going to get worse, under nearly every emissions scenario.

Let’s take temperature. The report’s authors conclude that by the 2050s the region is “projected to warm rapidly,” with temperatures rising by 4.2°F, under a lower-emissions regime, and by 5.9°F, under business-as-usual scenarios, though they could be as high as 7.1°F warmer. By 2080, the region will experience temperatures that may be 17°F higher than they are today!

With warming temperatures less snow will fall, stressing agriculture, especially east of the Cascades. Streams will warm so much that fish populations will die off. Oh, and don’t buy any riverfront property, unless you expect your children to grow fins.

The Puget Sound itself will acidify, killing off shellfish and marine ecosystems. Dissolved oxygen concentrations will decline, stressing fish populations.

Very depressing stuff, unless you simply want to dismiss the findings as a “hoax.” That should work.