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Bright Side To Climate Change? More Mild Days In The Northwest


The perfect day for an outdoor wedding or a baseball game? That’s a “mild day,” says Sarah Kapnick, a climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  

“I like to call mild weather days the ‘Goldilocks days,’” she says. “They’re not too hot. They’re not too cold. They’re just right.”  

Kapnick is one of the co-authors of a study published Wednesday that has good news for picnickers and hikers in the Pacific Northwest: As climate change advances, we’ll have more mild weather.  

These graphs show how the number of mild weather days will change in major U.S. cities by the end of the century if climate change continues as expected. 

These graphs show how the number of mild weather days will change in major U.S. cities by the end of the century if climate change continues as expected. 

 Karin Van der Wiel/NOAA/Princeton

“I really cared about mild weather days because I really wanted to know when I could take my daughter to the park,” Kapnick says. “Then, when my daughter has her daughter, when would she be taking her daughter to the park? Then, at the end of the century, it’s then, ‘When will my great-granddaughter be going to the park?’”  

By the end of the century, the world will see fewer mild days globally. But, here in the Pacific Northwest, we’ll have nine more mild days in the spring and fall. That’s a 10 percent increase.  

Still, Kapnick adds, it won’t all be a walk in the park. More mild days could mean decreased snowpack, which means more water shortages in the summer.   

Seattle residents enjoy a rare perfect mild spring day overlooking Lake Union. If climate change continues as expected, people in the Northwest would see a 10 percent increase in mild days.  

Seattle residents enjoy a rare perfect mild spring day overlooking Lake Union. If climate change continues as expected, people in the Northwest would see a 10 percent increase in mild days.  

Katie Campbell/KCTS 9

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