See How Climate Change Will Affect Your City Over the Next 30 Years

iStock/KarenHBlack
iStock/KarenHBlack

Most of us are well aware that the Earth is getting warmer. But it’s often hard to imagine how that future will feel. Vox recently tried to put the scary statistics into context by visualizing how winters and summers in 1000 cities all over the U.S. will change over the next 30 years or so.

The infographic lets you type in the name of the city nearest you, then visualizes the change between the average summer high and winter low between 2000 and 2050. New York City, for instance, had a summer high of 83.1° F in 2000, but 30 years from now, in 2050, that number will rise to 87.9°F. Winter in the city will be warmer, too, rising from a 28.5°F low in 2000 to a 32.6°F low in 2050.

Those changes may not seem that big, but those are just averages, and don’t tell the full story. There will be more heat waves and other extreme weather events, more dramatic shifts from periods of rain to periods of drought, and other changes that go beyond mere temperatures. These changes will vary from city to city—northern areas are warming faster than southern ones—but overall, many cities will start to feel like their southern counterparts do today.

Within the Vox visualization, you can explore projections for how populations and temperatures will change in different cities, including the ones expected to warm the most and the least over the next 30 or so years. (Oakland is looking good right now, but you may not want to move to Fargo.) You can also see how each city’s year-long temperature and precipitation forecasts are expected to change month to month.

It’s a bleak reality. In addition to changing the weather, agriculture, animal populations, and natural landscapes, climate change will effect what world heritage sites you’ll still be able to see, what wine you’ll be able to drink, what trees you’ll be able to plant in your yard, and so much more.

Explore how your hometown could change over on Vox.

Charge Your Gadgets Anywhere With This Pocket-Sized Folding Solar Panel

Solar Cru, YouTube
Solar Cru, YouTube

Portable power banks are great for charging your phone when you’re out and about all day, but even they need to be charged via an electrical outlet. There's only so much a power bank can do when you’re out hiking the Appalachian Trail or roughing it in the woods during a camping trip.

Enter the SolarCru—a lightweight, foldable solar panel now available on Kickstarter. It charges your phone and other electronic devices just by soaking up the sunshine. Strap it to your backpack or drape it over your tent to let the solar panel’s external battery charge during the day. Then, right before you go to bed, you can plug your electronic device into the panel's USB port to let it charge overnight.

It's capable of charging a tablet, GPS, speaker, headphones, camera, or other small wattage devices. “A built-in intelligent chip identifies each device plugged in and automatically adjusts the energy output to provide the right amount of power,” according to the SolarCru Kickstarter page.

A single panel is good “for small charging tasks,” according to the product page, but you can connect up to three panels together to nearly triple the electrical output. It takes roughly three hours and 45 minutes to charge a phone using a single panel, for instance, or about one hour if you’re using three panels at once. The amount of daylight time it takes to harvest enough energy for charging will depend on weather conditions, but it will still work on cloudy days, albeit more slowly.

The foldable panel weighs less than a pound and rolls up into a compact case that it can easily be tucked away in your backpack or jacket pocket. It’s also made from a scratch- and water-resistant material, so if you get rained out while camping, it won't destroy your only source of power.

You can pre-order a single SolarCru panel on Kickstarter for $34 (less than some power banks), or a pack of five for $145. Orders are scheduled to be delivered in March.

300-Foot Wide Floating Saucer of Ice Forms on a River in Maine

iStock.com/Onfokus
iStock.com/Onfokus

People are crowding the banks of Presumpscot River in Westbrook, Maine to see a strange natural phenomenon. As temperatures in Maine have plunged, a giant, floating ice disk has formed on the river's surface, NBC News reports—and it's gaining worldwide attention.

The ice disk appeared when a cold snap hit the Portland, Maine suburb earlier in January. It isn't unusual to see ice chunks floating down the Presumpscot River this time of year, but this floe is notable for its size (roughly 300 feet across!) and shape. From land, it looks like a near-perfect circle, prompting comparisons to flying saucers and the moon. And as of Wednesday, January 16, the disk had been slowly spinning counter-clockwise.


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The uncanny sight is actually the result of a natural process. According to experts, the disk likely formed when a chunk of river ice got caught in a vortex powered by a waterfall 100 feet upstream. As the ice spun it would have bumped into the shore continuously, smoothing out its rough edges into a smooth circle.

CBS 13 reports that the giant ice pancake stopped spinning on Wednesday after getting caught on another piece of ice near the the riverbank. It continuous to attract spectators and serve as a landing pad for local ducks.


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[h/t NBC News]

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