We've talked about the importance of climate foresight before, and here's a good example of it in action -- the University of Washington's Climate Impacts Group has just released a groundbreaking study on the likely ramifications of global warming in the Puget Sound region.
The report, Uncertain Future: Climate change and its effects on Puget Sound is long, comprehensive and full of uncertainties. But one thing is sure: effects of these magnitudes, especially when unpredictable, require us to think ahead, to anticipate. Surprisingly, local media coverage has actually been strong, including a good piece in the Seattle P-I:
Among the report's findings: The average annual air temperature around the Sound rose 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit during the last century, more than double the average increase globally of 1.1 degrees. Water temperatures measured near Victoria, B.C., have risen nearly 2 degrees since 1950. Glaciers across the Cascades and the Olympics have been shrinking over the past 50 to 150 years. Sea levels already have swelled globally between 4 and 8 inches over the past century, thanks to melting glaciers and polar ice, and the fact that water expands as it warms. ... In Friday Harbor, waters could rise less than half a foot by the middle of this century, but Tacoma could see levels increase by more than twice that.
I wonder how the US debate on climate would be changing if every region in the country were getting a similar look ahead?