Tropics to be First Effected by Climate Change

A recent report published in Nature presents a model that sees global temperatures take a permanent leap above the historical mean (as determined by climate data from 1860 to 2005) by 2047 if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. In the tropics, the projected liftoff will occur by 2038.

Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii at Manoa and colleagues averaged data from 39 climate simulations to project when temperatures would permanently depart from historical variability in different regions.

The model put the global average year of departure at 2047 if no action is taken to address greenhouse gas emissions, but the date moves to 2069 if emissions were stabilised, the researchers report in the Oct. 10 Nature.

Tropical regions will experience unprecedented temperatures nearly a decade earlier than elsewhere. Temperatures fluctuate more widely near the poles, so these regions take longer and require more of a temperature boost to depart from historical ranges than tropical regions do.

“Unprecedented climates will occur earliest in the tropics and among low-income countries, highlighting the vulnerability of global biodiversity and the limited governmental capacity to respond to the impacts of climate change. Our findings shed light on the urgency of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions if climates potentially harmful to biodiversity and society are to be prevented.” Nature.com

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The researchers project that Manokwari, Indonesia, for example, will hit unprecedented highs in 2020, whereas New York City will hit them in 2047. Reykjavik, Iceland, won’t cross the threshold until 2066.

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