on August 27, 2015 at 3:39 PM, updated August 27, 2015 at 3:45 PM
By 2050, as the earth warms, Philadelphia’s climate will be similar to present day Richmond, Va. and Pittsburgh will be closer to present day Washington D.C.
Those are the conclusions of the latest update, released Thursday, to a pivotal 2009 report from Pennsylvania State University on how climate change will impact the Keystone State.
Overall, the updated report says, Pennsylvania’s average temperature has increased two degrees over the past 110 years. By 2050, the average temperature is expected to be five degrees warmer than in 2000.
If those changes sound small – or if warmer temperatures in Pennsylvania sound like a pleasant alteration – the report warns that they bear serious impacts.
Among its key findings, the report warns that allergy and asthma sufferers are in for a rough ride. As temperatures warm, pollen and mold concentrations are likely to increase.
Pennsylvania, like the rest of the northeast, is also expected to get wetter. That increased precipitation may increase the risk of floods and threaten drinkable water supplies.
Storms, too, are expected to be severer, which may increase the risk of power outages and impact other electrical infrastructure.
The changes will be a mixed bag for Pennsylvania farmers. On one hand, warmer temperatures will mean longer growing seasons and opportunities to grow new crops. On the downside, those warmer temperatures will also mean better conditions for weeds and pests.
And those increases in certain types of pests may have other unpleasant consequences. More mosquitoes may increase the spread of West Nile virus. More deer tricks may increase the spread of Lyme disease.