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Could The Pacific Northwest Become a Climate Change Migrant Mecca?

OPB | Aug. 7, 2014 12:20 p.m. | Updated: Aug. 7, 2014 1:53 p.m.

A map by Cliff Mass illustrating with colored dots the parts of the country most likely to be affected by various aspects of climate change.

A map by Cliff Mass illustrating with colored dots the parts of the country most likely to be affected by various aspects of climate change.

Cliff Mass

The climate change models aren’t pretty: from increased storm strength to sea level rise, and heat waves to pervasive drought, the next century could prove to be very different, climate-wise, from the last.

But according to a recent synthesis of these models, the Northwest could fare better than the rest of the country.

Cliff Mass, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, says that whether you look at temperature, sea rise, drought dangers, or likelihood of severe storms, the Northwest seems like an oasis of relative stability compared to the rest of the U.S.

Does that mean that we can expect a big in-migration of climate change refugees, as some studies have explored?

We’ll talk to Cliff Mass about what the models show, and what they could mean for the future of the region.

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