If you like the weather where you live, but are worried it’s not going to be the same as climate change wreaks havoc on meteorological systems, there’s now a way to know where you should be planning to move. The Climate Ex map shows the climatic similarities between different places, as well as the projected climate changes for those places over time. If you’re happy with the San Diego weather, you can see where will have the same characteristics 50 years from now.
“If you know some place is good for something, like making wine, and climate is a big driver of that, you can search other similar places climatically,” says Tomasz Stepinski, the geography professor based at the University of Cincinnati who made the map, says in an interview. For example, California’s Napa Valley has climate twins on the west coast of South America and in northwestern Africa.
The tool covers more than a million places on a 4-square-kilometer grid and brings together voluminous climate data from the WorldClim public database. You can search for climate similarities based on historical data as well as projections going forward to 2070. The latter reveals the places where climate change is set to have the greatest impact.
The biggest “dissimilarities” (indicated in brown) are in places like Greenland, which is set to become warmer and wetter by 2070, and in Nicaragua, which is set to become hotter and dryer. For the U.S., the biggest changes are on the West Coast, parts of the East Coast, and in the Mississippi Delta region. Much of the central U.S. is shaded in green, indicating less extreme changes in temperatures and precipitation patterns by 2070. (The model uses a middle-ground “most likely” climate forecast scenario.)
The tool is unique in the way it flattens out apparent differences between places. While Oklahoma and Paraguay might experience seasons in different halves of the year, their profiles match up when you draw a line through all their temperature and precipitation data. In other words, places can mirror each other, albeit at different points of the cycle. Stepinski developed the map with Pawel Netzel, a researcher from Poland.
Though climate change is set to have dramatic impacts, Stepinski says the differences between places are greater than the differences projected over time. Washington, D.C., and Moscow, for instance, are more different today and going forward than when you compare Washington in 2000 and Washington in 2070. Some things about the world will stay the same even if everything about the weather seems to be changing.