VIENNA — One-half degree Celsius may barely register on a backyard thermometer, but when it comes to temperatures on a global scale, it can make all the difference in the world, according to a new study that examined the relative impacts of 1.5 degrees Celsius global warming versus 2 degrees Celsius.
At issue is the worldwide climate-change target set late last year in Paris under the COP21 agreement. The deal, now signed by more than 175 countries, aims to cap global warming somewhere between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level by drastically cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The new research shows why many scientists are pushing for the lower target.
A temperature increase of 2 degrees Celsius will have a much bigger impacts to the world’s food and water supplies, as well as to ecosystems like tropical reefs, the researchers said in late April, releasing their findings during a press conference at the European Geosciences Union conference in Vienna. Austria. The study examined 11 different indicators, including extreme weather events, water availability, crop yields, coral reef degradation and sea-level rise.Continue reading “Climate: Why a half-degree matters”→
Extreme heat events piling up in cities around the world
FRISCO — The world’s urban areas are shaping their own local climate by affecting regional wind fields, and that is resulting in more frequent heatwaves, researchers say, reporting a climate “double-whammy” of global warming and an intensifying urban heat island effect.
Human activities and the built environment trap heat and prevent cities from cooling down, said UCLA geography professor Dennis Lettenmaier.
Higher summer spikes could mean more destructive storm surges
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Annual sea level fluctuations have been intensifying along parts of the Gulf Coast, raising concerns about more hurricane flooding and impacts to delicate coastal ecosystems in the region.
There have always been seasonal fluctuations in sea level, which rise in summer and fall in winter. But a new study shows that, from the Florida Keys to southern Alabama, those cycles have amplified in the past 20 years.
Changes in the Arctic likely to have widespread hemispheric impacts
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — A new climate study by scientists at the University of Exeter (UK) adds to the growing body of research looking at the hemispheric impacts of dwinding Arctic sea ice.
The findings suggest that that the loss of ice shifts the jet stream farther south, bringing increased summer rainfall to northwestern Europe, but drier conditions to the Mediterranean region. The study could offer an explanation for the extraordinary run of wet summers experienced by Britain and northwest Europe between 2007 and 2012.
FRISCO — As global temperatures continue to rise, plant-killing pests are spreading toward the poles at the rate of almost two miles per year, posing a potential threat to food production in the world’s temperate crop–producing areas.
“If crop pests continue to march polewards as the Earth warms, the combined effects of a growing world population and the increased loss of crops to pests will pose a serious threat to global food security,” said Dr, Dan Bebber, of the University of Exeter.
New climate model pinpoints predictions down to the city level
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — As climate models become more sophisticated, researchers have started to fine-tune global warming impacts to the regional level, including more drought and water shortages expected in the Southwest, seasonal ice-free conditions in the Arctic, and hotter, wetter conditions in the Eastern U.S., according to a new University of Tennessee study.