I don't know about you, but I get tired of hearing about what climate change may possibly do to our planet in 150 years. It's important stuff to know. But the emphasis on that sort of implies we're not already experiencing the fallout.
Public radio's Marketplace has put together a big series on the impacts of climate change. And, instead of reporting-as-usual, they're actually taking the time to explain what's already happened, as well as what's to come. Besides some well-reported radio stories, they've also got an interactive map that breaks the United States down into eight regions, and compares---side-by-side---that area's past (mostly based on what things were like between 1960 and 1979), present and future.
To get self-centered about it, here's what climate change has already wrought in the Midwest:
- •Frost-free season has become longer by more than a week. Again, that's just since the 60s and 70s.
- •More frequent heatwaves.
- •Two record-breaking floods within the past 15 years
- •Heavier summer and winter precipitation.
- •Increased average temperatures, especially in winter.
- •Heavy downpours are twice as frequent as a century ago.
Maggie Koerth-Baker is the science editor at BoingBoing.net. She writes a monthly column for The New York Times Magazine and is the author of Before the Lights Go Out, a book about electricity, infrastructure, and the future of energy. You can find Maggie on Twitter and Facebook.