Community Climate Outlooks

Do you know how climate change impacts the city or county in which you live? If we want to adapt to climate change or combat the impacts, it is important to understand how the climate is changing in our “backyard” and how those changes impact our everyday life and our surroundings. Launched in Spring 2022, Community Climate Outlooks highlight climate change and its associated impacts for communities in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

View the Outlook for a specific locality by clicking a shaded region on the map above or by selecting from one of the dropdown lists below:

Delaware
District of Columbia
Maryland
Pennsylvania
Virginia

This is version 1.0 of Community Climate Outlooks, released April 26, 2022. Please send questions and feedback to Kelsey Ruckert (klr324@psu.edu).

Data Sources & References

Data Source / Reference
Sea level observations Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) (2021). Tide Gauge Data. Retrieved 30 Aug 2021 from http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/.

S.J. Holgate, A. Matthews, P.L. Woodworth, L.J. Rickards, M.E. Tamisiea, E. Bradshaw, P.R. Foden, K.M. Gordon, S. Jevrejeva, and J. Pugh (2013) New Data Systems and Products at the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level. Journal of Coastal Research, 29(3): 493-504. doi:10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-12-00175.1.
Delaware sea level projections J.A. Callahan, B.P. Horton, D.L. Nikitina, C.K. Sommerfield, T.E. McKenna, D. Swallow (2017). Recommendation of Sea-Level Rise Planning Scenarios for Delaware: Technical Report, prepared for Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) Delaware Coastal Programs. 116 pp. Retrieved from https://www.dgs.udel.edu/sites/default/files/projects-docs/Delaware%20SLR%20Technical%20Report%202017.pdf.
Maryland sea level projections D.F. Boesch, W.C. Boicourt, R.I. Cullather, T. Ezer, G.E. Galloway, Jr., Z.P. Johnson, K.H. Kilbourne, M.L. Kirwan, R.E. Kopp, S. Land, M. Li, W. Nardin, C.K. Sommerfield, W.V. Sweet (2018). Sea-level Rise: Projections for Maryland 2018. 27pp. University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Cambridge, MD. Retrieved from https://www.umces.edu/sea-level-rise-projections.
Philadelphia region sea level projections Office of Sustainability (2015). Growing stronger: Toward a climate-ready Philadelphia. Retrieved from https://www.phila.gov/media/20160504162056/Growing-Stronger-Toward-a-Climate-Ready-Philadelphia.pdf
Virginia sea level projections W.V. Sweet et al. (2017). Global and regional sea level rise scenarios for the United States. Tech. Rep. NOAA Tech Memo NOS CO-OPS 083, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved from https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/publications/techrpt83_Global_and_Regional_SLR_Scenarios_for_the_US_final.pdf
Washington, DC sea level projections T. Wells, K. Johnson, P. Phannavong, A. Thompson, J. Barnes, D. Pierce, L. Dickson, N. Beauvais, I. Ghosh, D. Greene, N. Brahim, A. Nunnery, K. Hagan, K. Hayhoe, A. Stoner, P. Kirshen, and E. Douglas (2015). Climate Projections and Scenario Development: Climate Change Adaptation Plan for the District of Columbia. RFA: 2013-9-OPS. Retrieved from https://doee.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/ddoe/publication/attachments/150828_AREA_Research_Report_Small.pdf.
Recorded deaths from exposure to excessive natural heat by state Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Underlying Cause of Death 1999-2019 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released in 2020. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2019, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Retreived 10 Nov 2021 from http://wonder.cdc.gov/ucd-icd10.html
Multivariate Adaptive Constructed Analogs (MACA) data MACA data are available at https://www.climatologylab.org/maca.html

J.T. Abatzoglou and T.J. Brown (2012). A comparison of statistical downscaling methods suited for wildfire applications. International Journal of Climatology, 32, 772-780. doi:10.1002/joc.2312.
Gridded Surface Meteorological Dataset (gridMET) data gridMET data are available at https://www.climatologylab.org/gridmet.html

J.T. Abatzoglou (2013) Development of gridded surface meteorological data for ecological applications and modelling. Int. J. Climatol., 33: 121–131. doi:10.1002/joc.3413.
"Across the Mid-Atlantic, stream temperatures increased roughly 2.5 degrees F from 1960 to 2010." K.C. Rice and J.D. Jastram (2015). Rising air and stream-water temperatures in Chesapeake Bay region, USA. Climatic Change 128, 127–138. doi:10.1007/s10584-014-1295-9
"In the US, electricity demand for cooling will increase by 5-20% per degree C." T. Wilbanks, V. Bhatt, D. Bilello, S. Bull, J. Ekmann, W. Horak, Y.J. Huang, M.D. Levine, M.J. Sale, D. Schmalzer, M.J. Scott (2008). Effects of Climate Change on Energy Production and Use in the United States. US Department of Energy Publications. 12. Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/usdoepub/12
"At 95°F, it’s hard to keep indoor areas and our bodies cool." US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2016). Climate Change and Extreme Heat: What You Can Do to Prepare. EPA 430-R-16-061. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/climateandhealth/pubs/extreme-heat-guidebook.pdf
"Ice cover on Lake Erie has decreased by 50% between 1973 and 2010." Wang, J., Bai, X., Hu, H., Clites, A., Colton, M., & Lofgren, B. (2012). Temporal and Spatial Variability of Great Lakes Ice Cover, 1973–2010, Journal of Climate, 25(4), 1318-1329. doi:10.1175/2011JCLI4066.1

Differences may exist between the underlying data sources, scenarios, or baseline periods used here and those used for other climate adaptation resources. As an example, this product uses downscaled projections from the MACAv2-METDATA dataset due to the larger number of available variables, improved performance for extreme precipitation, and more recent updates when compared with the LOCA dataset used by the U.S. National Climate Assessment. Users are advised that these choices may result in some differences in projected outcomes, particularly at the small spatial scales represented here.

Projections of sea level rise have advanced over the past decade and the scientific community continues to improve these projections over time. As such, there are a variety of projections available at the local level. The sea-level rise projections chosen for Commumity Climate Outlooks were selected to match those used by each state for official planning purposes.

Additional information on future climate scenarios (i.e. Representative Concentration Pathways or RCPs) can be found at https://tntcat.iiasa.ac.at/RcpDb.

About

Work on this product was initiated by Pamela Braff and continued by Benjamin Watson and Kelsey Ruckert, with additional help from Matthew Lisk, Katerina Kostadinova, Molly Mitchell, and Robert Nicholas. Kelsey Ruckert (klr324@psu.edu) is the current lead for the project.

Production and distribution of the Outlooks is supported by NOAA through the Chesapeake Bay Coastal Climate Extension pilot program (grant NA18OAR4310302) and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments program (MARISA) (cooperative agreement NA210OAR4310310). Additional support is provided by the Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM) at the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences and by the Penn State Center for Climate Risk Management (CLIMA).

Unless otherwise noted, all materials included in Community Climate Outlooks are made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.