February 23rd, 2020 by Johnna Crider
Climate scientists have shared where they think would be an ideal place to live in the United States in order to avoid natural disasters. An article, published by Business Insider, posed a question to 12 climate scientists and they gave us a few cities that they thought would be safest.
Natural disasters happen all over the United States, many of them now caused or exacerbated by climate change. (Not all are, of course — we’ve had natural disasters forever.) Here in Louisiana, especially in the southern part of the state, we are prone to hurricanes as well as floods from rainstorms. Shreveport, my hometown up in north Louisiana, is just on the edge of the infamous Tornado Alley.
Here’s where 12 climate scientists say they’d live in the US to avoid future natural disasters.
Cities like Portland, Tulsa, Minneapolis, and Charlotte rank among the preferred locations for avoiding effects of climate change.
— Susan Cooper 💙🌊💙 (@BuzzEdition) February 22, 2020
In fact, I remember those back-to-back Easter Sunday tornadoes and seeing one literally skip my block before it took out the bus station. The West Coast has mudslides, wildfires, and earthquakes.
The entire Gulf Coast, as well as most of the East Coast, have stronger and stronger hurricanes to deal with, and sometimes a few tornadoes here or there.
Cities That Could Avoid Natural Disasters
Despite the fact that it’s right in the heart of Tornado Alley, Tulsa, Oklahoma, was a pick from one climate scientist, in part because the city is nowhere near the coast. Tulsa has also gone to great lengths to protect itself from flooding. A devastating storm in 1984 was the inspiration behind the installation of detention ponds that retain water from a storm.
Hartford, Connecticut, was also a choice, for not being vulnerable to rising sea levels. Climate sociologist Mathew Hauer was one of the scientists who were able to figure out which US cities had the most residents likely to be affected by 6 feet of sea level rise by 2100 in a 2016 study. This study predicted that New Orleans and Miami would see “catastrophic impacts,” but Hartford, Connecticut, was safe due to its location being inland and its population being small.
The next city on the list is Boulder, Colorado. It’s on this list because it won’t run out of water even if it gets hit by a major drought for the next 10 years. Along with its high elevation, Boulder is pretty much in the middle of the continental US, so it’s far away from any dangers from rising oceans. Its altitude is more than 5,300 feet.
Although it’s situated along the Pacific Ocean, San Diego, California, is known for its great weather year-round. It has low humidity, low precipitation, and the temperatures range between 64 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the research from a climate scientist at Princeton University, Sarah Kapnick. Kapnick’s research also showed that summers are becoming warmer and more humid, and by the end of the century, areas such as Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and even Ohio could lose weeks of mild weather as a result of climate change.
Vivek Shandas, an urban-planning professor at Portland State University, thinks that Sacramento, California, is one of the least vulnerable to the overall effects of hurricanes, sea-level rise, tornadoes, flooding, droughts, landslides, and wildfires. The city is developing strategies such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change as well as helping the community prepare for and adapt to the effects of climate change, so it got Vivek’s vote.
There is some good news for those living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, which also landed on the list. The good news is that the city isn’t likely to get much colder than it is already. Professor David Robinson, which chose this one, is New Jersey’s state climatologist and a professor at Rutgers University. Robinson thinks that Minneapolis could possibly be ideal for those looking to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Charlotte, North Carolina; and Portland, Oregon also made the list. Portland, although a coastal city, isn’t vulnerable to hurricanes compared to cities such as Miami. Professor John Nielson-Gammon of Texas A&M University told Business Insider that Pittsburgh is also unlikely to experience drought. Charlotte is far enough inland to avoid hurricanes that can ravage the North Carolina coast. Also, unlike most cities, as a result of climate change, Charlotte is actually cooling instead of warming up, according to Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich for NBC’s affiliate WCNC.
One thing for certain is that the climate is changing. In Louisiana, we are losing our barrier islands. These islands are eroding so quickly that some estimates predict they will be completely gone by the end of this century. The erosion of the islands might have a severe impact on the environment landward of the barriers, according to the USGS. As these islands vanish, the wetlands along the Louisiana delta will be exposed to the open Gulf conditions. I remember learning about this in middle school.
We (those of us my age and older) may not be around by the end of the century, but we should at least strive to leave the world in a better place than what it was when we were born into it.
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