Will your city have enough water and electricity in a hot future?

The climate crisis is making the weather unpredictable. It’s been hotter for longer periods of time and we’re seeing extreme rainfall changes. New research shows that, if we don’t reduce emissions, climate change will drive up demand for water and electricity for cities experiencing these weather changes.

In a study published yesterday in the journal one earth, scientists projected how water and electricity use would change by 2080 under high emissions scenarios, comparing future consumption to current levels. They found that, within the next 60 years, the water and electricity needs of many American cities could increase by more than 10%.

To calculate this, the study authors collected water and electricity usage data as well as observational climate data from utility companies from 2007 to 2018 for a total of 46 cities. Spread across the continental United States, these cities have a population of more than 250,000 and include New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Phoenix. That information was used to train climate models to understand how much per capita water and electricity use would change in the cities studied. They found that most of the 46 cities, especially the largest cities, are likely to experience increased electricity demand by 2080. New York, Chicago and Los Angeles in particular will see a 6% to 12% increase in per capita demand during this period. Summer months.

Per capita water demand in New York and Los Angeles is unlikely to increase much. The scientists behind the study said this is because personal recreational water use and landscaping demands are lower than the average household in other cities.

Researchers also used something called “”climate compatible, It is a method that uses the current climate of an existing location to project what the climate of another location may look like in the future. For example, based on climate model results, the future climate of New York City in a high emissions scenario could be similar to that of Jonesboro, Arkansas around the year 2080. Located farther south than New York, Jonesboro is likely to experience an increase in electricity use as average temperatures continue to rise.

Study author Renee Obringer was surprised to see that some cities, particularly those around the Gulf, were projected to see reductions in electricity and power needs. For example, the study paired Tampa, Florida with Ciudad Mante in Mexico as its climate counterpart. That city experiences more summer rainfall, which the study predicts could reduce water demand by less than 10% by moving Tampa’s climate closer to that of Mexico. This may be because outdoor water use may be less during the summer months if there is more rainfall in the area.

Obringer explained that the use of climate analogs simplifies the process of interpreting data obtained from climate models, making the information more accessible to researchers. “Our local water utility manager would have no idea how to get this data or how to use it or interpret it,” he told Earther. “By using the analogs themselves, we were able to get the indirect effects of future climate without having to download these huge models and go through the process of downscaling.”

Using analogs as comparisons will make it easier for elected officials and planning agencies to better account for per capita energy and water demand and population growth. Not taking these changes into account could mean unequal access to electricity and water. “To mitigate these potential impacts, it is important to build resilient infrastructure that can handle climate-induced increases in demand,” the report advises.

But meeting growing energy demands will be a challenge, especially as many of the cities listed are projected to get hotter. For example, Los Angeles currently requires 5.4 million megawatt hours of electricity. The study said that in a high emissions scenario, the city would need more than 9 million megawatts to meet growing energy demand. Obringer said that would mean several thousand more wind turbines to meet the surge in energy demand for one of the major cities.

“We wanted to bring to light that it is not that we are seeing a 15% increase in power demand,” he said. “This has a really big impact on how we plan and manage our grid.”

The increases noted in the study likely reflect overall average changes. However, this does not take into account demand during prolonged drought or intense heat waves – two things that are affected by climate change.

“These events put pressure on infrastructure systems, with managers and operators often resorting to conservation mandates or, in the case of the electric grid, blackouts,” the study authors wrote. “Vulnerable groups, such as low-income households, the elderly, or racially/ethnically marginalized people, experience more severe impacts during heatwaves, creating a public health crisis.”

Want more climate and environment stories? View Ether’s Guides Decarbonizing your home, divestment from fossil fuels, packing a disaster go bagAnd Overcoming climate fears, And don’t miss our coverage of the latest IEA report on clean energyfuture of carbon dioxide removalAnd this Invasive plants you should cut to pieces,

(TagstoTranslate)Renee Obringer(T)Anthropocene(T)Emissions reduction(T)Environment(T)Climate change in the United States(T)Climate change policy(T)Human impacts on the environment(T)Sustainable energy(T)Climate Change Mitigation(T)Climate Change(T)Gizmodo

Leave a comment