What will you be doing then? I’ll just be nearing retirement age.
By the time you’re your parents’ age, there’s a good chance every new year will be hotter than any year you experienced before 2005. That’s according to a new analysis of the top mathematical models that predict how the Earth will respond to global warming.
The analysis identified a tipping point of 2047, plus or minus a few years, if there’s no effort made before then to curb carbon emissions. At that time, most of the Earth will experience climates that are hotter than any that have occurred between 1860 and 2005. If all this sounds a bit familiar, it’s because the new analysis is based on models that have long been publicly available, but no one has ever put together the data in quite this way before, The New York Times reports.
“We wanted to give people a really relatable way to understand climate,” Abby Frazier, a doctoral student in geography at the University of Hawaii and one of the authors on the new paper, told the Times.
Check out the Times and the other links we have here for more descriptions of the models that fed into this prediction, the uncertainties in this prediction, and an adjusted prediction for a scenario in which people do work to reduce their carbon emissions. Here are some highlights:
- In 2008, the Earth’s oceans became more acidic than they ever were between 1860 and 2005. The oceans have absorbed about half of the carbon dioxide emitted from human activity since the Industrial Revolution, Climate Central reports. That absorbed carbon makes the water acidic, which is harmful to many marine species.
- Different parts of the world will exceed their historical highs at different times. The first to feel global warming’s unprecedented changes will be the tropics. That’s concerning because so many of Earth’s species live in the tropics. Also, many tropical countries are low-income and may not have the resources to deal with hits to fishing or agriculture from climate change.
- Curious when exactly your hometown will start feeling hotter-than-ever temperatures? The researchers have posted a clickable map on their website.
The new study was published today in the journal Nature.