PNW Climate Change Impact

What does climate change mean for the PNW?


pnw impacts diagram

All of the climate models we have examined agree on some aspects of climate change in the next century: higher temperatures year-round, wetter winters, and a higher snowline. Changes in summer precipitation and climate variability are uncertain. What effect would these changes have on the region's physical environment and natural resources?

This series of figures ranks the potential impacts of climate change (for the 2040s) according to our confidence in the projected impacts and our estimation of their relative importance for the Pacific Northwest as a whole.

The arrows indicate the relative magnitudes (small, medium, or large) of the ecological and/or socioeconomic impacts that climate change would have on the region as a whole, and whether the impacts would be positive or negative. This ranking accounts for the magnitude of the climate impact itself (either quantified or estimated) and the estimated magnitude of its regional consequence. For example, conflicts over water resources are expected to increase, which would be a negative impact of climate change.

Impacts are categorized by high, medium, or low confidence levels, loosely based on the IPCC's definitions of these terms (IPCC WGII 1996).

Source: The Climate Impacts Group at the University of Washington.