Thursday, September 12, 2019

Two Degrees Hotter

The 2016 Paris Agreement on Climate Change set a long-term goal to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. Unfortunately many places across the globe have already exceeded a 2 °C rise in average temperatures.

The Washington Post has used data from Berkeley Earth to map the global rise in temperatures compared to the average temperature in the years 1880-99. An animated map at the beginning of the article, Dangerous new hot zones are spreading around the world, visualizes how the planet has heated since the end of the 19th Century. Another map, later in the article, takes a closer look at where temperatures have risen the most. According to the Post around 10% of the planet has already heated by more than 2 °C. Around 20% of the planet has heated by 1.5 °C.

Of course this level of global heating is having an effect on environments around the world. The Post's article takes a closer look at some of the most extreme environmental changes taking place across the globe and how these changes are affecting the lives and livelihoods of the people being affected by climate change.

Last month the Washington Post explored in more detail where in the United States the average temperature had risen above 2 °C. and where climate change is having the most visible effects in the country. In 2°C: Beyond the Limit - Extreme climate change has arrived in America the Post uses historical temperature data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration temperature to map where temperatures in the U.S. have already exceeded two degrees Centigrade.

According to the Post's analysis seventy-one counties have already experienced a rise of 2 degree Celsius. The Post's story includes a more detailed look at some of the regions of America which are experiencing extreme global warming and the effect that this warming is having on local environments. In particular the Post's story concentrates on the North East, where extreme warming has led to rising seas, loss of land, warmer winters and many other environmental problems.

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