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.

A Free Cup Share Program Is Coming to Coffee Shops in Boulder, Colorado

iStock.com/fotostorm
iStock.com/fotostorm

Paper coffee cups are wasteful, taking decades to break down in a landfill after they're used for just a small part of someone's morning. But they're also irresistibly convenient to many. A new startup called Vessel Works is aiming to tackle the waste problem at coffee shops by applying the convenience of disposable to-go cups to reusable mugs, Fast Company reports.

The program, which is launching in four Boulder, Colorado cafes, takes the pressure off of customers to provide their own reusable cups. Instead, they can download an app and use it to check out an insulated, stainless steel mug free of charge. Throughout the day, the app updates them on ways their choice has made a difference, including how much waste they've prevented, how much water they've conserved, and how much they've reduced their carbon footprint. When they're done with the drink, users have five days to return their mug to a Vessel kiosk; from there it will be cleaned in one of the startup's facilities and returned to a cafe where the cycle will start all over again.

Vessel isn't the first company to attempt to bring reusable cups into the sharing economy. In 2016, coffee shops in Hamburg, Germany adopted a program where customers could acquire a mug for a small deposit and return it to a participating cafe to get their money back. Vessel Works's program differs in that users are never asked to pay unless they fail to return their cups on time (in that case, they'll be charged a fee).

Vessel is currently working with Boxcar Coffee Roasters and Trident Booksellers and Cafe in Boulder, and is coming soon to Seeds Library Cafe at the Boulder Public Library and the Pekoe Sip House at the University of Colorado. The startup hopes to eventually expand to more cafes and install dropoff kiosks at more convenient locations like transit stops.

[h/t Fast Company]

This Live Stream Lets You Eavesdrop on Endangered Killer Whales' Conversations

iStock.com/Serega
iStock.com/Serega

Southern resident killer whales, which are usually found off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia, are an endangered species. If you're lucky, though, you might be able to hear a pod of the killer whales chattering away from the comfort of your own home. A website spotted by The Kansas City Star lets you live stream the calls of killer whales from your phone or laptop. Dubbed Orcasound, it uses hydrophones (underwater microphones) to pick up oceanic sounds from two areas off the coast of Washington.

On the website, listeners can choose between the two locations. One is the Orcasound Lab in Haro Strait, which is situated off the coast of Washington's San Juan Islands—the "summertime habitat" of this specific ecotype of whale, according to the website. The other location is Bush Point at the entrance to Puget Sound, where the whales pass through about once a month in search of salmon. However, that hydrophone is currently being repaired.

So what do orcas sound like? They're loud, and they do a whole lot of whistling, whining, and clicking. You can hear a snippet of what that sounds like in a four-minute podcast uploaded to the Orcasound site.

There’s no guarantee you’ll hear an orca, though. "Mostly you'll hear ships," the website notes, but there's also a chance you'll hear humpbacks in the fall and male harbor seals in the summer.

The live stream isn't just for educational purposes. It also serves as a citizen science project to help researchers continue their studies of southern resident killer whales, which are in danger of starvation as Chinook salmon, their main food source, die off.

The makers of Orcasound are urging listeners to email ihearsomething@orcasound.net anytime they hear killer whales or "other interesting sounds." They can also log their observations in a shared Google spreadsheet. Eventually, developers of the site hope to roll out a button that listeners can click when they hear a whale, to make the process easier for people to get involved.

[h/t The Kansas City Star]

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