Eastern United States vulnerable to climate change

Time to get out of the Eastern United States? A study to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science tries to quantify the relative risk of climate change using something called a “socioclimatic” risk factor. As always, the redder the worse. A look at the paper would no doubt be more illuminating, but for some reason, press releases about PNAS papers come out way before the papers actually become public. China is in bright red all the way, India in a rather bright orange. Where I live, the Eastern United States, is a nice beet red. No doubt, the unprecedented drought the South is experiencing right now is a nice big red signal.

Interesting stuff, though the actual paper will tell the story. Any technique that tries to integrate all the complex scientific, social and economic variables of climate change into one number is bound to have a flaw or two. But such a metric is useful for estimating relative risk, as the authors themselves say.

He added that the study does not address the absolute degree of impact or risk.

“This study illustrates exposure of one nation relative to another,” Diffenbaugh said. “Thus, it is important to note that a country low on the relative scale could still face substantial risk.”

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