Map of the Week: Climate Change in Coming Decades

This map is an interactive map which charts the United States through the next century with our current climate change situation. This map supposes that on our current trajectory of climate change the United States’ suitable climate which humans have been living in the past 6,000 years will move towards the northern and midwestern parts of North America. This will have drastic impacts on the agricultural region in terms of where they can find areas suitable to grow crops. With the drastic increase in global temperature staying steady it will continually melt more of the polar ice caps, therefore making sea levels rise effectively driving back coastlines.

In a study done by the National Academy of Sciences they labeled the human climate niche to be much of the southeast and Midwest ending at northern Texas and Nevada, also including the Californian coast within the United States. This area is where the temperature and precipitation rates are the most optimal for humans. This map claims that by the year 2070 with moderate carbon emissions into the future, this human niche will have moved more northwest nearing the Canadian border. In the case of increased carbon emissions from which are dispensed in the contemporary the suitable niche for humans shifts much more drastically by the year 2070. This projection shows the niche as being on top of the United States and Canadian border, showing an even more drastic shift in the human niche within the United States. This has tremendous implications on where crops can be sold and where most Americans will live. This projection supposes that much of the southern part of the United States will be unsuitable to perform agriculture and predicts a large migration of the population to the northwestern parts of the country because of the severity of heat and drought that will wrought the southern region of America. This heat is described as being very extreme, in that in states like Louisiana and Texas the heat coupled with the humidity will be so severe that the body will not be able to properly cool itself. The map supposes that this could happen approximately 1 out of every 20 days in the year which will drastically change where humans choose to live in America. This Article supposes that these effects of climate change could have profound economic effects on the broader portions of the country in that people will have to move and the agricultural industry will not be able to grow crops in a much smaller portion of the country.

In this map it seems to me the cartographers are attempting to challenge the dominant media producers in that most media are that of popular culture which cover things like celebrity activities and other useless things to the population. By drawing attention on this pressing issue of climate change it is an attempt to shift the focus of society on something that is more important in terms of significance. Throughout much of social discourse most of society see climate change as an insignificant issue due to its lack of circulation in the media. In Harley’s “Deconstructing the Map,” the author talks about the silences in maps throughout the discipline of cartography and this discipline’s often implied omnipotence on the nature of the state of our world. “Deconstruction urges us to read between the lines of the map – ‘in the margins of the text’ – and through its tropes discover the silences and contradictions that challenge the apparent honesty of the image,” (Harley, 3). Although this map is trying to shine light on an issue in the world, I believe it has rhetorics of fear in its presentation. Through showing someone these images, it can cause much discomfort is seeing that the southern part of the United States will be virtually unlivable having catastrophic impacts on the economies of these regions. I believe this map silences the potential of climate change not being the severity that the map claims. It does not consider the possibility of America lowering its carbon outputs in the ensuing century and assumes our carbon emissions will increase over time especially in the of the extreme warming prediction map.

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2 Responses to Map of the Week: Climate Change in Coming Decades

  1. Connor Crabtree says:

    This is very interesting Dante. Climate change is very intriguing and could end up causing many issues down the line. I think you did a good job of pointing out some of those main issues. I think maps like these are useful by simply spreading awareness. I am curious to see what types of solutions we come up with if it indeed does trend downwards.

  2. Clarisse Anne Liclic says:

    This is a great map link Dante. Often times when we discuss the concept of climate change, the terminology in of itself tends to be broadly understood and perhaps rarely understood even more so, considering the fact that most people claim it isn’t occurring. However, a map such as this that realistically and visually tracks the state of the American landscape over time as a result of climate change can help people see the tangible effects of rising temperatures. I think your summarization of what the map proposes is well written and explained and it leaves room for exploration of the map itself. The map on its own also does a good job of covering a fraction of the climate change narrative, which is often another risk when it comes to climate change discourse, where many might feel too overwhelmed to fully grasp what is happening because there IS so much happening on different scales and in different places.

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