The maps and tables presented here represent potential variability of projected climate change across the conterminous United States during three 30-year periods in this century and emphasizes the importance of evaluating multiple signals of change across large spatial domains. Maps of growing degree days, plant hardiness zones, heat zones, and cumulative drought severity depict the potential for markedly shifting conditions and highlight regions where changes may be multifaceted across these metrics. In addition to the maps, the potential change in these climate variables are summarized in tables according to the seven regions of the fourth National Climate Assessment to provide additional regional context. Viewing these data collectively further emphasizes the potential for novel climatic space under future projections of climate change and signals the wide disparity in these conditions based on relatively near-term human decisions of curtailing (or not) greenhouse gas emissions.
climate change indices
novel climate conditions
Matthews, Stephen N.; Iverson, Louis R.; Peters, Matthew P.; Prasad, Anantha M. 2018. Assessing potential climate change pressures across the conterminous United States: mapping plant hardiness zones, heat zones, growing degree days, and cumulative drought severity throughout this century. RMAP-NRS-9. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. 31 p. https://doi.org/10.2737/NRS-RMAP-9.