Research shows a steady climb in temperature and precipitation
By Chloe Bennett
An annual international climate summit in Dubai is wrapping up its first week as leaders discuss whether to “phase out” or “phase down” the use of fossil fuels. Governments, nonprofit organizations and members of the fossil fuel industry are in attendance at the United Nations Conference of the Parties this year (COP28) for discussions on climate solutions.
Scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change state that the world must cut about 50% of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and completely transition from fossil fuels by 2050 to mitigate the effects of climate change. But reaching that goal is becoming less likely as emission levels grow.
To understand some of how climate change will affect the Adirondacks, the Explorer looked at data published by Columbia University researchers this fall. Key findings include rising temperatures and increased precipitation:
Using climate models, different scenarios of future greenhouse gas concentrations and past research, the scientists found that the park could experience different jumps in temperature. If the annual median temperature increases as projected, it will rise by more than 9 degrees by the year 2100 to a base of about 50 degrees. Under a high estimate, the scientists found, the park could experience a rise of more than 15 degrees by 2100 to an annual median of 55.7 degrees.
Indian Lake, Lake Placid and Wanakena were among the focus locations for the study. Columbia researchers looked at the Champlain Valley separately and projected slightly higher temperatures and precipitation. Data for the decades of 2020 and 2090 were excluded from the report because of inadequate data, the researchers said.
Warming temperatures during the winter season are rising quickly in New York with a rate that is nearly double that of the other seasons. While heat waves are expected to increase, cooling days, defined by temperatures at or below 0 degrees Fahrenheit, are likely to decrease.
Across the Northeast, precipitation amounts are expected to rise as warmer air holds more moisture. Below is a median estimate of the change in precipitation percentages in the park.
The report is one part of the New York State Climate Impacts Assessment that is expected to detail projected ecological changes in the state, including in the Adirondack Park. The full report was estimated to be released in early 2023 but has yet to be published.
To read the report and review the data, click here.