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By 2080, Minnesota could resemble Kansas unless climate action taken

The research says that's the fate facing Minnesota unless we reduce emissions.

Unless major efforts are made to reduce carbon emissions, the Twin Cities could resemble Kansas City in 60 years' time.

That's according to climate forecasting by Nature Communications, which released a new study predicting some of the changes that major American urban centers can expect to experience by 2080.

It looked at two possible scenarios at what the climate in the Twin Cities could be by then – in the less severe scenario the weather would be more like Des Moines, Iowa, but in the other, more severe scenario, it could be similar to Kansas City.

But the current rate of emissions are such that the Earth is on course to exceed the more severe scenario, according to the research. 

That might be good news for anyone who prefers warmer weather, given that Kansas City is on average 16F warmer in the winter than the Twin Cities, but it's also 38.5 percent wetter.

It would be even more extreme in Duluth, which most resembles Oregon, Ohio (it's a city in Ohio) where winters are 14F warmer and 122.5 percent wetter.

The study looked at 540 cities to see what they would resemble by 2080 and put them on an interactive map which you can find here.

Here's where the Minnesota cities included would resemble in 60 years' time if current trends don't change.

Minneapolis-St. Paul: It would be more like Kansas City, with its winters 16F warmer and 38.5% wetter. Its summers would be 6.5F warmer and 8.9% wetter.

Duluth: Most closely resembles Oregon, Ohio in 2080, with summers 6.5F warmer and 8.9% wetter, and 13.9F warmer and 122.5% wetter in winters.

Mankato: Would be more like Salina, Kansas, where summers are 9.3F warmer and 12.1% drier, while winter would be 16.1F warmer and 6.6% wetter.

St. Cloud: Would be more like Lansing, Kansas, with summers that are 6.8F warmer and 15.2% wetter, while winters would be 18.1F warmer and 59% wetter.

Rochester: By 2080 it would resemble Atchison, Kansas, where summers are 7.4F warmer and 7.5% wetter, while winters are 14.4F warmer and 24.4% wetter.

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As the Los Angeles Times points out, the loss of extreme colds in the winter could lead to a significant rise in invasive species, pests and disease, and could have a hugely negative impact on food production.

This is something noted by experts at the University of Minnesota, who told a panel of state lawmakers last month that Minnesota's winters are warming at a rate 13 times faster than the summer, and if the trend were to continue it would have serious consequences for the state's agriculture and biodiversity.

"We find that if emissions continue to rise throughout the 21st century, climate of North American urban areas will become, on average, most like the contemporary climate of locations 850 km (500 miles) away and mainly to the south, with the distance, direction, and degree of similarity to the best analog varying by region and assumptions regarding future climate," Nature Communications said.

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