What will we do for fun outdoors, as global warming increases average temperatures, rainfall, snowfall, and sea levels? John Whitehead at Environmental Economics reads the tea leaves in a series of three posts:
The first post reviews the existing literature on climate change and outdoor recreation: Climate change and outdoor recreation: Part 1 (March 4, 2008). Not much has been published on this: he only found three recent (since 1999) papers. Two of the them look at actual behavior and how it's affected by changes in temperature, rainfall, snowfall, and sea level. A third looks at what people say they would do if things changed. This not only looks at the direct impacts of temperature and rain, but also at associated ecosystem changes. In general, all three studies found that climate change would have positive net impacts for outdoor recreation.
In Part 2 (Climate change and outdoor recreation: Part 2, March 25) Whitehead takes his own look at climate induced temperature, rain, and snow changes on boating, fishing, and hunting during this century. Assuming income doubles, boating participation rates increase, hunting rates decrease, and fishing rates are essentially unchanged. He uses 2000 cross section data, so it doesn't look like he's picking up or explaining some of the dynamic changes underway in recreational use of the outdoors (for example, changes in hunting participation - Where have all the hunters gone?).
In Part 3 (Climate change and outdoor recreation: Part 3, April 8) he takes a closer look at freshwater fishing. He modeled the probability a person would fish, and the number of days they would fish, for each of 14 different fresh water species, and examined how participation rates are affected by seasonal temperature and rain/snow variables. Projected 2098 temperature rain/snow levels reduce total fresh water fishing days by 9%. Welfare is $1.13 billion less a year in 2098, and the present value of the welfare losses is between $2.3 and $16.6 billion, depending on the discount rate chosen.
He promises a working paper on the impact of climate change induced sea level rises on salt water fishing in North Carolina before too long. The Environmental Economics posts report on a part of this work.
There are more posts on outdoor recreation trends here: Nature recreation.