Much hotter summers, loss of forests expected as Virginia climate heats up

earth-new“It’s not just ‘global warming’ now,” says author Stephen Nash, “but ‘Arlington Warming’ or ‘Richmond Warming.’ Regional modeling allows climatologists to project just how hot we can expect typical summers to be in the Fairfax, Norfolk, Danville or the Roanoke area.”

Wide ranging climate change impacts throughout Virginia are detailed in a new book, Virginia Climate Fever, by journalist Stephen Nash. Those impacts range from sea level rise, to acidification of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic, to summers with far more sweltering 90+ days than Virginians now experience.

See the projections at VIRGINIACLIMATEFEVER.COM

As average global temperature rises — and depending on how the world responds to the threat of climate change — Virginians could experience a climate closer to Alabama or Mississippi. As a result, scientists have projected that Virginia’s forested lands may be lost to drought, fire, or insect pests in a “big die-off,” to be replaced by the shrubs and grasslands of a savanna. Diseases more typical of the tropics including dengue fever and chikungunya are more likely to pose public health risks, according to infectious disease experts.

The book lays out climate projections for Virginia by Texas Tech University Professor Katharine Hayhoe, an atmospheric scientist. For the first time, the data allows Virginians to consider projected temperature increases where they live as the global average temperature rises.

If greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the global atmosphere at current rates, Fairfax County could see nearly double the number of 90+ degree days in a typical summer over the next few decades, and more as the heat continues to build. In Richmond, sticky summer days of 90+ could increase from from 36 days to 60, well before mid-century. Even Highland County, known for its pleasantly cool summers, could see 90-degree days quadruple, with more on the way as global warming increases.

“Steve Nash’s book allows Virginians to glimpse a future they can still shape,” said Michael Mann, a former University of Virginia climate scientist who is now a professor of Meteorology at Penn State University. “If we don’t like that future, we can take actions now to reduce carbon pollution — actions like the U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan to reduce carbon pollution from fossil fuel power plants,” Mann said.

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Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is now available at a special pre-sale discounted price of $20. The book is expected to ship by May 15, 2019, and expected to retail for $25.
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The book, with additional reporting by Scott Ratcliffe and Zach Pereles, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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