Americans have climate change to thank for a decades-long spate of milder winters. Around 80 percent of U.S. residents live in counties where the weather has become more pleasant over the last four decades (see map). That trend won’t last, however: Researchers predict in the April 21 Nature that 88 percent of Americans will experience noticeably worse weather by 2100 than they do today.
The researchers created a weather pleasantness index to rank weather conditions. Hot, humid summers cost points, while mild winters added points. In the contiguous United States, winter warming has outpaced increases in summertime temperature and humidity. But if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, summer weather will become less pleasant over the coming decades, potentially sparking increased public interest in combating climate change, the researchers predict.
Redder-shaded counties in the contiguous United States had relatively nicer weather (milder winters and cooler summers) between 1974 and 2013; green-shaded counties had worse weather. White-colored counties had insufficient data to gauge the area’s changing weather.
Portion of Americans living in counties that experience better weather today than in 1974
Portion of today’s Americans who live in counties that will have worse weather by 2100