What Would Happen If Climate Change Continues – Will you help me to be free? Journalism is free so everyone can understand our world. Reader support helps us with this. Give today? X
It depends on how much the planet is warming. Changes associated with 4°C (or 7.2°F) warming are expected to be more dramatic than changes associated with 2°C warming.
- 1 What Would Happen If Climate Change Continues
- 2 How Is Climate Change Impacting The World’s Ocean
- 3 Climate Change Is Causing Dramatic Impacts In The Arctic, Report Finds
- 4 No Pandemic Break For The Arctic, As Climate Change Continues To Kick In
What Would Happen If Climate Change Continues
Here are some of the biggest impacts we can expect if global warming continues by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (here and here).
How Is Climate Change Impacting The World’s Ocean
Warmer temperatures: If emissions continue to rise, global average surface temperatures by 2100 will be at least 2ºC higher than pre-industrial levels – and possibly 3ºC or 4ºC or more.
High sea level rise: If global warming continues unchecked (between 2 and 4 feet), experts agree that global sea level will rise between 0.7 and 1.2 feet by the end of this century. And that’s just average. Areas such as the eastern United States may experience higher sea level rise.
Droughts and floods: Around the world, wet seasons are expected to become wetter and dry seasons drier. According to the IPCC, the world “may experience more intense rainfall, leading to more flooding, but longer dry periods between rains, leading to more droughts”.
Cyclones: It is still unclear how global warming will affect tropical cyclones. According to the IPCC, tropical cyclones with strong winds and heavy rainfall are more likely to warm the oceans. But the number of hurricanes in many areas “may decrease or remain essentially unchanged.”
New Study Highlights Need To Address Risk Of Continued Global Warming After Net Zero
Strong storm surges: Sea level rise increases the risk of storm surges and flooding when storms occur.
Agriculture: The combination of increased heat and drought is expected to make food production more difficult in many parts of the world. The IPCC concluded that global warming of 1°C or more could reduce crop yields of wheat, maize and rice by 2030, particularly in tropical regions. (However, it’s not uniform: some crops can benefit from a little warming, such as winter wheat in the United States.)
Extinction: As the Earth warms, many species of plants and animals must change habitats at a faster rate to maintain their current conditions. Some species are able to survive; Others probably don’t. For example, coral reefs will struggle to adapt if oceans continue to warm and become more acidic. The National Research Council estimates that mass extinctions are “possible before 2100.”
Long-term changes: Most of the changes predicted above will occur in the 21st century. But unless greenhouse gas levels stabilize, temperatures will continue to rise. This increases the risk of more severe, prolonged migration. For example, if the West Antarctic Ice Sheet begins to collapse, this could significantly raise sea levels. The National Research Council considers such rapid climate surprises unlikely this century, but a real possibility in the more distant future.
Climate Change Is Causing Dramatic Impacts In The Arctic, Report Finds
Readers depend on clear, nuanced coverage that not only sheds light on the problem, but offers solutions. And we rely on the help of our readers: advertising and donations cover most of our costs, but we consider contributions that help close the gap in our budget. In fact, we aim to reach 95,000 individual contributions before the end of the year. What are you offering next now? Our average gift is only $20 – and it goes a long way to keep our work open. It aims to help everyone understand what’s shaping the world – not just those who can subscribe We believe this is an important part of building a more equal society. Join this mission and contribute today. The concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will continue to increase unless we significantly reduce our emissions by billions of tons annually. Increased concentration is expected:
Many greenhouse gases remain in the atmosphere for long periods of time. As a result, even if emissions stop increasing, atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations will increase and remain high for hundreds of years. Furthermore, if density remains stable and the composition of today’s atmosphere remains stable (which would require dramatic reductions in current greenhouse gas emissions), surface air temperatures will continue to warm. This is because heat-storing oceans take decades to fully respond to high greenhouse gas concentrations. Ocean responses to higher greenhouse gas concentrations and higher temperatures will affect climate over decades to hundreds of years.
To learn more about greenhouse gases, visit the Greenhouse Gas Emissions page and the Greenhouse Effects section of Causes of Climate Change.
Because it is difficult to project distant future emissions and other human factors affecting climate, scientists use different scenarios based on different assumptions about future economic, social, technological and environmental conditions.
How Close Are We To Reaching A Global Warming Of 1.5°c?
This figure shows the expected concentrations of greenhouse gases for four different emission pathways. The above trajectory assumes that greenhouse gas emissions will continue to rise into the current century. The lower trajectory assumes that emissions will peak between 2010 and 2020 and then decline. Source: Graph from Representative Density Pathways Database (version 2.0.5) http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web-apps/tnt/RcpDb Click image to view larger version.
We have already noticed global warming in recent decades. Temperatures are expected to change further in the future. Climate models project the following major temperature changes.
Projected changes in global mean temperature under four emission pathways (rows) for three different periods (columns). Temperature change 1986-2005 relative to average. The pathways are taken from the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report: RCP2.6 is the very low emissions pathway, RCP4.5 is the medium emissions pathway, RCP6.0 is the moderately high emissions pathway and RCP8.5 is the high emissions pathway (assuming emissions increase over the century). remains). Source: IPCC, 2013 Exit Click image for larger version.
Global average temperature changes are observed and plotted according to the four emission pathways. The vertical bars on the right show the range of temperatures expected by the end of the century, while the lines show the average of the range of climate models Changes are relative to the 1986–2005 average. Source: IPCC, 2013Exit, FAQ 12.1, Figure 1. Click image to view larger version.
No Pandemic Break For The Arctic, As Climate Change Continues To Kick In
Projected temperature change in the United States by mid-century (left) and end-of-century (right) under high (top) and low (bottom) emissions scenarios. Brackets on the thermometer indicate the possible range of model predictions, although lower or higher results are possible. Source: USGCRP (2009)
Precipitation and storm patterns are likely to change, including rain and snow. However, these changes are less certain than temperature-related changes. Projections show that future changes in precipitation and storms will vary by season and region. Some areas may see less rainfall, others more, and others little or no change. In the event of heavy rain, precipitation may increase over most areas, but storm tracks are forecast to shift poleward. Weather models show the following changes in precipitation and storms.
Projected changes in global annual precipitation for low emissions (left) and high emissions scenarios (right). By the end of the century, precipitation is predicted to increase in the blue and green regions, while it will decrease in the yellow and brown regions. Source: IPCC, 2013 Exit Click image for larger version.
The maps show future changes in precipitation by the end of the century under high-emission scenarios compared to 1970–1999. For example, in winter and spring, climate models agree that the northern regions of the United States may be wetter and the southern regions drier. There is less certainty about exactly where the transition between wet and dry areas occurs. Confidence in the projected change is highest in the area marked by the diagonal line. Variations in white area are assumed to be no greater than would be expected from natural variation. Source: US National Climate Assessment, 2014. Click image to view larger version.
Record Ocean Temperatures: Why They Happen, How They Hurt
Arctic sea ice is already shrinking. Northern Hemisphere snow cover has been declining since about 1970. Permafrost temperatures have increased over the past century in much of Alaska and the Arctic . To learn more about recent changes in snow and ice, see the Snow and Ice page in the Index section.
Over the next century, sea ice extent is expected to decrease, glaciers will continue to shrink, snow cover will decrease, and permafrost will continue to melt. Potential changes in ice, snow, and permafrost are described below. These maps show the expected loss of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice. The map in point a) shows the average ice density (relative area covered by sea ice) during 1986–2005. Maps b) and c) show climate model simulations of sea ice thickness in late 21st century February and September under low (b) and high (c) emissions scenarios. According to forecasts, there will be less ice in the Arctic in February (several
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