This week’s reading, while fairly long, offered some very interesting insight as to how climate change will impact Virginia specifically. Through classes as well as research on my own time, I’ve learned a good amount about the wide ranges of impacts that climate change will bring on the world as a whole, plus impacts it will bring specifically to different regions such as southern Asia, the Mediterranean, Pacific islands, the US, and more. Currently, I am taking an oceanography class to get my natural science with lab out of the way, and a great portion of that class concerns climate change, how our oceans are changing as a result, and how those changes will impact humankind. This class is interesting, as we are focusing more on the science of the ocean and how that relates to climate change than centering in on how climate change will impact humankind as our primary lens for analysis. However, despite all of this research of mine into the topic of climate change throughout my high school and college years, I have never really learned about the specifics of climate change and Virginia, apart from some very broad predictions as to what will happen to the Hampton Roads area, as well as the (not so) gradual disappearance of Tangier Island.
One section of the reading that I liked a lot was pages 24 through 26, where the model depicting Virginia’s “moving” summer climate is analyzed and discussed. The findings are very approximated, and as always concerning climate change, there could well be factors that even the most insightful climate scientists cannot accurately predict. However, the model was constructed by a professional, using a wide range of pre-existing models and data. It shows that if a cautious route is taken, and CO2 emissions are curved downward, Virginia’s climate may resemble that of something along the lines of a modern southern Virginia/northern North Carolina hybrid by mid century, and a modern North Carolina/northern South Carolina hybrid by the end of the current century. If we simply go about “business as usual,” and no significant effort is made at reducing CO2 output, which seems to be closer to the case today, Virginia’s climate may resemble modern South Carolina’s by mid century, and modern southern Georgia/northern Florida’s by the end of the century. It is noted that Virginia does have a very different situation than Florida, however, so while we may be experiencing their temperatures by the end of this century, shall we go down a lousier case scenario, we will not receive the same sort of bicoastal sea breezes that modern northern Florida experiences, as Virginia is not a bicoastal state. Rather, we will experience the sweltering modern Alabama or Mississippi heats that have little to no cushion provided by large seacoasts as in northern Florida’s case. As well, animal and plant life in Virginia is simply not built for those sorts of climates in any case, and many Virginian species will suffer greatly. Of course, any dent to the Virginian ecosystem will cause a shockwave impacting all life, even human, detrimentally.