, 27 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
1. So, I’ve been rather quiet lately on here and also haven’t been writing many stories lately. Here’s why washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/…
2. Today we’re launching the first story in a series about places that have already warmed by nearly or above 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 Fahrenheit – roughly double the global and U.S. (lower 48 state) average.
3. Basically, it’s a series about hotspots, or places that for a variety of reasons are experiencing the worst of climate change – and in many cases facing severe impacts already. Hotspots like these
3.5 [not sure if that last GIF worked so posting a static image of the US hotspots]
4. This first story is set in New Jersey, which just happens to be one of the U.S.’s fastest warming states -- just shy of 2C right now, compared w/ temps in the late 1800s.
5. The piece also looks at Rhode Island, which is just above that 2C marker. It’s the fastest warming state in the U.S. outside of Alaska.
6. More broadly it is a story about the northeast, one of the U.S.’s fastest warming regions. Yes, RI and NJ happen to have the highest warming numbers, but a lot of other states, especially in New England, are not far behind.
7. And this outsized warming is projected to continue, such that when the entire U.S. is at 2C, the northeast will be at 3C. journals.plos.org/plosone/articl…
8. Why is the northeast warming so fast? Well, we’ll get to that in later tweets. But here's what it looks like.
9. This is a major group effort which would not have been possible without our lead author (NJ born and raised) @stevenmufson, our RI correspondent @eilperin, our data master @johnmuyskens, and our skilled photographer @salwangeorges.
10. It took a lot to bring together but the result is amazing maps, historical and contemporary photos, and even a feature that lets you find the warming trend for no less than 3,107 U.S. counties – including, perhaps, the one you live in.
11.The story also has a feature that we really should have invented a long time ago, since it solves a perennial headache n climate journalism – the story converts between Celsius and Fahrenheit for you.
12. In other words, you get to choose the temperature scale within which to experience the story. Thanks to @madisonlynwalls for this amazing feature and for the beautiful design overall.
13. There is a lot to say here (first of many threads), but first, let’s talk about 2C/3.6F. This is a level of warming the globe is never supposed to reach (though how we’re supposed to prevent that is … unclear).
14. But because climate change is very uneven – and because global averages are just that, averages – a lot of individual places already have gotten there.
15. We do need to draw a distinction here, though. It’s the distinction between global 2C, and local 2C. And it matters.
16. Fast warming in NJ won’t kill the world’s coral reefs or collapse West Antarctica. 2C for the globe is certainly worse overall than 2C for specific locations on the globe.
17. But locally, this high level of warming can have a lot of severe consequences. And overall, it just represents a dramatic amount of change from what existed before, just 120 or so years earlier.

That is ultimately what we are measuring.
18. We capture this by taking you back to the early 1900s at a NJ lake, Lake Hopatcong, which used to be a kind of winter wonderland. It actually had so much ice that it provided ice to New York City for iceboxes (we used those back when we didn’t have refrigerators).
19. Now, it’s often too dangerous to even hold traditional winter ice fishing contests, and the lake is being overtaken by weeds and, most recently, toxic blue green algae. The latter has actually more or less shut down the lake, the largest in NJ, for the crucial summer season.
20. Neither of the latter is solely caused by climate change but in each case, the warming temperatures help create the environment in which the weeds and dangerous algae thrive.
21.NJ is also suffering from extreme rainfall, an explosion of pests (once killed by colder winters, now expanding their range) such as the southern pine beetle, and much more.
22. In fact, we actually did not have the space to fully list and unpack all the many impacts of climate change that we found in New Jersey.
23. The point is that intense climate change is already present in the U.S. You just have to know where to look.
24. And here’s the thing. When you find places that have experienced this much change – and we have – then you learn something else. You learn what every other place will have to prepare for in the future. #end
24.5 updating this thread -- here is my accompanying article explaining the project a bit more and giving the 5 big takeaways from it washingtonpost.com/climate-enviro…
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