Climate scientists pick ‘hot’ spots to live in the future

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Some scientists believe that some regions of the United States will fare better than others as the climate changes, although the havens will be few.

They don’t like the odds for places such as California and the Southwest because of drought and fires. The East Coast and Southeast will be at risk for heat waves, hurricanes and rising sea levels.

Detroit and Anchorage could fare better, they say.

“If you do not like it hot and do not want to be hit by a hurricane, the options of where to go are very limited,” Camilo Mora, a geography professor at the University of Hawaii and lead author of a paper published in Nature last year predicting that unprecedented high temperatures will become the norm worldwide by 2047, told the New York Times.

“The best place really is Alaska,” he added. “Alaska is going to be the next Florida by the end of the century.”

Under any model of climate change, scientists say, most of the country will look and feel drastically different in 2050, 2100 and beyond, even as cities and states try to adapt and plan ahead. The northern Great Plains states could be pleasant (if muggy) for future generations, as may many neighboring states.

Few people today are moving long distances to strategize for climate change, but some are at least pondering where they would go.

“The answer is the Pacific Northwest, and probably especially west of the Cascades,” said Ben Strauss, vice president for climate impacts and director of the program on sea level rise at Climate Central, a research collaboration of scientists and journalists.

“Actually, the strip of coastal land running from Canada down to the Bay Area is probably the best,” he added. “You see a lot less extreme heat; it’s the one place in the West where there’s no real expectation of major water stress, and while sea level will rise there as everywhere, the land rises steeply out of the ocean, so it’s a relatively small factor.”