Friday, March 08, 2024

Global Climate Change Impacts

map showing likelhood of drought in the US under different climate models

We have just experienced the warmest February on record. That makes it nine months in a row which have broken all previous record global temperatures. This means that over the last twelve months the world has exceeded 1.5 °C global heating compared to pre-industrial temperatures. The goal of 1.5 °C was set by the 2015 Paris Agreement because scientists believe that global heating above 1.5°C will result in significant climate change impacts.

The National Academy of Sciences has created three interactive maps to show how this global heating will increase the chances of extreme heat, drought and flood events around the world. The three maps use data from Probable Futures in order to identify the areas of the world that will probably be worst affected by climate change.

In Where will climate change hit hardest? PNAS has mapped out what different levels of rising temperatures will mean in terms of deadly heat, debilitating droughts, and destructive floods around the world. The maps reveal that huge areas of the planet will be affected by multiple extreme climate events, for example areas of Pakistan will "face the simultaneous threats of life-threatening heat and disastrous floods".

You can click anywhere in the world on each of the three interactive maps to view a chart of the likelihood of extreme climate events at the selected location under different levels of global heating. For example if you click on Phoenix, Arizona on the Devastating Drought map you will see that at 3 °C of global heating the probability of a year-long extreme drought is projected to be more than 40%.

The National Academy of Scientists aren't the only ones to have mapped out the likely effects of climate change. In New Climate Maps Show a Transformed United States ProPublica shows how different parts of the U.S. are likely to be affected by global heating. The ProPublica map shows where extreme heat will become commonplace, where growing food will become very difficult and where dangerous 'wet bulb' conditions will become the norm.

The New York Times has also released an interactive map which attempts to explain how global heating will effect the climate where you live. If you enter your county into Every Place Has Its Own Climate Risk. What Is It Where You Live? you can find out which climate risks will become the most extreme in your area.

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