Our climate is already changing, resulting in longer wildfire seasons and increased wildfire smoke, higher temperatures, wetter winters/springs and increased flooding, drier summers and drought, and decrease in groundwater recharge.
Population growth and loss, unpredictable energy pricing, and natural hazards, are just a few of the long list of stressors that impact or community due to climate change, all of which have a direct effect on our local economy. Vulnerable public infrastructure such as bridges, roads, and buildings are susceptible to major impacts as our climate continues to change.
LOCAL FOOD RESILIENCE
As Montana experiences greater magnitudes of heat, drought, and flooding, crop yields and ability to produce local food will be affected. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, climate change could significantly slow US crop yields by 2030.
Destination Missoula estimates that tourism accounts for $294 million in direct expenditures in Missoula each year, and $360 million in total economic impact in visitor spending. Tourism will be impacted as our rivers and other natural environments are affected by a changing climate.
~6⁰ ANNUAL TEMPERATURE INCREASE
POTENTIAL SCENARIO 1
By 2050, the annual average temperature in Missoula is estimated to increase by 6 degrees (more in the summer). This results in two to three additional summer weeks at temperatures above 90 degrees, and a summer precipitation decrease by nearly 30%. Increased temperatures will affect water, fire and smoke.
15% PRECEPITATION INCREASE
POTENTIAL SCENARIO 2
The annual average perception in winter/spring/fall in Missoula is estimated to increase by 15%, resulting in increased flooding. If this increase in rainfall occurs, the summer months annual temperature is estimated to increase annual by 3 degrees by 2050 (more in summer), an add an additional week of hot weather over 90 degrees. Increased rainfall will also affect our agriculture growing seasons.
WHAT’S A “NORMAL” YEAR?
POTENTIAL SCENARIO 3
A combo of both Scenario 1 and 2, in Scenario 3 there is an estimated annual temperature increase of 4-5 degrees by 2050 (more in summer months), two additional weeks of temperatures above 90 degrees, and variable perception from year to year. Ecosystems will dramatically change, which can in turn into local recreational businesses being impacted by unknown conditions.
WILDFIRES & WILDFIRE SMOKE
Montana’s wildfire seasons are becoming longer , and more abundant in the quantity. The fires and smoke affect many aspects of our community, included agriculture, health, buildings, tourism, and among other areas. Delayed crops, increased respiratory issues, decrease in employment, are just a few examples how climate change has impacted our wildfire seasons.
By 2050, it is estimated that our number of hot days (>90⁰) will increase between 12-20days. Increasing temperatures affect our agriculture, energy, buildings, aquatic systems, human health, just to name a few. The affected areas will cause problems, such as, aquatic populations to move upstream to cooler water, increased pathogens in our forest/terrestrial ecosystems, increased heat-related cardiovascular issues, and more expensive energy bills.
Human health is gravely impacted by climate change. From respiratory issues due to smoke and other air pollutants, cardiovascular events from increased heat, to water availability and purity, and safe and bountiful food supply. By taking action to mitigate these climate changes, we can ensure that we have a safe and healthy for future generations.
CLIMATE SMART MISSOULA'S
The risk of wildfires and accompanying wildfire smoke is increasing and a longer fire and smoke seasons are projected from our changing climate. Missoula is particularly at risk due to our valley location. Climate Smart Missoula's Wildfire Ready campaign helps to prepare our local community to manage the health impacts of these risks.
GROWTH POLICY UPDATE AND CODE REFORM
Our Missoula looks to refresh Missoula’s Growth Policy, Missoula’s vision for future growth, and it looks to modernize one of its key tools for carrying out that vision - the zoning and development code.
PREPAREDNESS & RESPONSE
As climate change has been ramping up, emergency preparedness & responses has been more crucial to ensure safety for our community. Multiple strategies, including infrastructure, communications, preventative health measures, and emergency response have been targeted approaches to combat climate change.
- 100% Clean Electricity - learn more about our City and County clean electricity goal
- Climate Ready Missoula - explore Climate Ready's goals and strategies to build a resilient Missoula
- Floodplain Re-Mapping - learn more about the City, County and State partnership to re-map the flood plains surrounding the Clark Fork and Bitterroot rivers
- Our Missoula - learn more about the growth policy and code reform update for the Missoula community
- U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit - learn more about climate hazards and tools to adapt for the future
- Zero by Fifty - learn more about the City of Missoula's zero waste goals and strategies
EDUCATE YOURSELF ON THE LOCAL EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate Ready Missoula is a guiding document that outlines the possible impacts that we face due to climate changes, and the solutions that Missoula, Missoula County, partners and community members should be focusing on.
NATIONAL WILDLIFE FEDERATION’S COMMUNITY WILDLIFE HABITAT PROGRAM
In the summer of 2018, the City of Missoula partnered with the National Wildlife Federation and became the first Community Wildlife Habitat in Montana. Certified Wildlife Habitats consist of meeting required number of elements in the following categories: food, water, cover, places to raise young, and sustainable practices. The hard work of NWF staff, community partners, volunteers, and City staff, have resulted in currently 12 certified habitats.
BY THE NUMBERS
GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
Greenhouse gas (GHG) emission inventories are conducted at municipal and community level to gauge our current progress and advise our next steps. Energy use and transportation are the highest GHG producers in our community. Individuals can calculate your carbon footprint or take on several of the many recommendations to reduce your impact on the environment.