How Will The Climate Change In The Future – Greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere will continue to rise, unless the billions of tons of our annual emissions are significantly reduced. An increase in concentration is expected:
Many greenhouse gases remain in the atmosphere for a long time. As a result, even if emissions stop increasing, greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere will continue to rise and will continue to rise for centuries. Furthermore, if concentrations remained constant and the current atmosphere remained stable (which would require a significant reduction in current greenhouse gas emissions), surface air temperatures would “warm”. This is because the oceans, which store heat, take many decades to fully respond to higher concentrations of greenhouse gases. The ocean’s response to higher concentrations of greenhouse gases and higher temperatures will continue to affect climate over the next decades to centuries.
- 1 How Will The Climate Change In The Future
- 2 Climate Disruption Is Now Locked In. The Next Moves Will Be Crucial.
- 3 Does It Matter How Much The United States Reduces Its Carbon Dioxide Emissions If China Doesn’t Do The Same?
- 4 What Is Climate Change? A Really Simple Guide
How Will The Climate Change In The Future
For more information on greenhouse gases, visit the Greenhouse Gas Emissions page and the Greenhouse Effects section of the Causes of Climate Change page.
Climate Change Spells ‘terrifying’ Future, Says Un Human Rights Chief, Calling For An End To Fossil Fuel Subsidies
Because it is difficult to project distant future emissions and other human factors that affect the climate, scientists use a variety of scenarios using different assumptions about the economic, social, technological and future environment.
This figure shows the predicted greenhouse gas concentrations for four different emission pathways. The highest path assumes that greenhouse gas emissions will continue to rise during this century. The trajectory below assumes that emissions will peak between 2010 and 2020, and decline thereafter. Source: Graphic generated from data in the Production Routes Database (Version 2.0.5) http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web-apps/tnt/RcpDb Click on the image to view a larger version.
We have already seen global warming in recent decades. Temperatures are expected to change even more in the future. Climate models show the main changes associated with temperature.
Projected changes in global mean temperature under four emission trajectories (rows) for three different periods (columns). The temperature changes are relative to the average of 1986-2005. The pathways are from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report: RCP2.6 is a very low emissions pathway, RCP4.5 is a medium emissions pathway, RCP6.0 is a moderately high emissions pathway and RCP8. 5 is the route of high emissions. The assumption is that emissions will continue to rise during the century). Source: IPCC, Issue 2013 Click image to view larger version.
Future Of Climate Change
Observed and expected changes in global average temperature under four emission trajectories. The vertical bars on the right show likely temperature ranges through the end of the century, and the lines show average projections across a range of climate models. The changes are relative to the 1986-2005 average. Source: IPCC, Issue 2013, FAQ 12.1, Figure 1. Click image to view larger version.
Projected mid-century (left) and end-of-century (right) temperature change in the United States under higher (top) and lower (bottom) emissions scenarios. The brackets above the thermometer represent the range of possible model predictions, although lower or higher results are possible. Source: USGCRP (2009)
Precipitation patterns and storm events, including both rain and snow, are expected to change. However, some of these changes are less certain than temperature-related changes. Forecasts show that future precipitation and storms will vary by season and region. Some areas may see less precipitation, some may see more precipitation, and some may see little or no change. The amount of precipitation in heavy rain events is expected to increase in most areas, and the storm tracks are expected to advance. Climate models project future changes in precipitation and storms.
Projected changes in global average annual precipitation for a low emissions scenario (left) and a high emissions scenario (right). In the blue and green areas an increase in precipitation is expected until the end of the century, while in the yellow and brown areas a decrease is expected. Source: IPCC, Issue 2013 Click image to view larger version.
Climate Disruption Is Now Locked In. The Next Moves Will Be Crucial.
The maps show future changes in precipitation for the end of this century, compared to 1970-1999, under a higher emissions scenario. For example, in winter and spring, climate models agree that northern areas of the United States are expected to experience wetter areas and southern areas drier. There is less certainty where the transition between wetter and drier regions will occur. Confidence in the predicted changes is higher in the areas marked with diagonal lines. The changes in the white areas are not expected to be greater than would be expected from natural variation. Source: US National Climate Assessment, 2014. Click on the image to view a larger version.
The Arctic sea ice is already shrinking. The amount of snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has decreased since about 1970. Permafrost temperatures in Alaska and much of the Arctic  have increased over the past century. For more information on the latest changes in snow and ice, visit the Snow and Ice page in the Indicators section.
During the next century, it is expected that the sea ice will continue to decrease, the glaciers will continue to shrink, the ice cover will continue to decrease and the permafrost will continue to melt. Possible changes in ice, snow and permafrost are described below. The maps in a) show the average ice extent (the relative area covered by sea ice) between the years 1986-2005. Maps b) and c) show climate simulations of sea ice thickness in February and September towards the end of the 21st century under low (b) and high (c) emissions scenarios. The Arctic region is expected to have less ice (more blue); September is expected to be almost snowless (almost blue). The predicted changes in Antarctic sea ice are more subtle. Source: IPCC, 2013 Click on the image to view a larger version.
Meltwater flows from the Greenland ice sheet Source: NASA Warming temperatures contribute to sea level rise by: expanding ocean water; melting mountain glaciers and ice caps; and causing chunks of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets to melt or flow into the ocean.
Does It Matter How Much The United States Reduces Its Carbon Dioxide Emissions If China Doesn’t Do The Same?
Since 1870, global sea levels have risen by about 7.5 inches. Estimates of future sea level rise vary for different regions, but global sea levels are expected to rise in the next century at a higher rate than in the last 50 years.
Studies predict that global sea level will rise another 1 to 4 feet by 2100, with a range of uncertainty between 0.66 and 6.6 feet.
The contribution of thermal expansion, ice caps, and small glaciers to sea level rise is well studied, but the effects of climate change on the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are poorly understood and represent an area of active research. Changes in ice sheets are currently expected to account for 1.2 to 8 inches of sea level rise by the end of this century.
Past and projected sea level rise from 1800 to 2100. The orange line on the right shows the actual expected rate of sea level rise between 1 and 4 feet by 2100; The wider range (0.66 feet to 6.6 feet) reflects uncertainty about how glaciers and ice sheets will respond to climate change. Source: NCA, 2014. Click on the image to view a larger version. Regional and local factors will affect the relative sea level rise for specific coastlines around the world. For example, the relative rise in sea level depends on changes in land elevation that occur as a result of subsidence (settling) or uplift (rise). Assuming these historical geologic forces continue, a 2-foot rise in global sea level by the year 2100 would result in the following sea level rise:
Climate Change: Scientists Warn Humans That They Are Risking Civilization’s Future
The relative sea level rise also depends on local changes in currents, wind, salinity and water temperature, as well as proximity to the subsidence of the ice sheets.
Ocean acidification adversely affects many marine species, including plankton, molluscs, molluscs and corals. As ocean acidification increases, the availability of calcium carbonate will decrease. Calcium carbonate is a key building block for the shells and skeletons of many marine organisms. If atmospheric CO
Concentrations continue to rise at their current rate, a combination of climate warming and ocean acidification may reduce coral growth by almost 50% by 2050.
The oceans are becoming more acidic as atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions dissolve in the ocean. This change is measured on the pH scale, with lower values being more acidic. The pH level of the oceans has decreased by about 0.1 pH unit since pre-industrial times, which corresponds to about a 30% increase in acidity. As shown in the graph and map above, the pH level of the oceans is expected to decrease further by the end of the century as CO2 concentrations are expected to increase in the future. Source: IPCC, 2013, Chapter 6. Click on the image to see a larger version.
What Is Climate Change? A Really Simple Guide
 USGCRP (2014) Melillo, Jerry M., Terese (TC) Richmond, and Gary W. Yohe, Eds., 2014: Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment. US Global Change Research Program.
 IPCC (2013). Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Stocker, T.F., D. Qin, G.-K. Feltner, M. Tinor, S.K. Allen, J. Boschung, A. Nauels, Y. Xia, V. Bex and P.M. Midgley (ed.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK and New York, NY, USA.
 NRC (2011). Climate sustainability goals: emissions, sources and impacts over decades to millennia. National Research Council. The National Academies Press, Washington, DC, United States.
 USGCRP (2009). The impact of global climate change b
Air Pollution And Climate Change: Impact Today And Future
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