Earth News Journal 23: Coldest Years Turn Warm

A recent study featured in the journal Nature concludes that the “coldest year in the future will be warmer than the hottest year in the past,” according to Camilo Maro, the lead scientist of the published paper.

This shocking find happened on a fancy – a graduate-class experiment led to some alarming news for Earth’s future.

Dr. Mora doesn’t even hunt for climate changes, normally; rather he is “a specialist in using large sets of data to illuminate environmental issues.” Thirty-nine of the world’s most advanced climate models helped guide the students to predict international rising temperatures over the next half-century.

The models conclude that these warmer temperatures could be delayed for another 20-25 years if there is a global campaign for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This time buffer could allow both nature and human society to adapt to changing climate norms.

Nonetheless, other climate researchers believe that slowing emissions could actually have a negative impact on the Earth, by “lowering the risk that the climate would reach a point that triggers catastrophic changes.” The study from the University of Hawaii, Manoa calculated various “climate departure” figures, or the “date after which all future years were predicted to be warmer than any year in the historical record (1860-2005) for that spot on the globe.”

For New York City, climate departure will come in the year 2047, or 2072 with lower greenhouse gas emission rates. Washington D.C. has a climate departure of 2047 and 2071, while Moscow sits at 2063 and 2092, Beijing at 2046 and 2078. Contrary to public belief, recent climate studies, including the Mora report, claim that the tropics will actually carry the brunt of global climate changes, not the polar region.

Ice caps and glaciers will melt and increase the volume of liquid ocean water, but the tropic regions – such as the Mediterranean, Northern Africa, and Central America – will suffocate under immense heat waves. Many plants and animals of tropical ecosystems have a narrow temperature tolerance range; therefore many species will not survive under intensive climate changes. Tropics areas are also plagued by poverty, and numerous people will not be able to afford to adapt to climate change, as opposed to many mid-latitude rich nations.

“If current trends in carbon dioxide emissions continue, we will be pushing most of the ecosystems of the world into climatic conditions that they have not experienced for many millions of years,” said Ken Caldeira, a climate researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California.

Reflection

Global climate change isn’t just going to affect the polar bears – it’s going to affect all of humankind if we refuse to delay action any longer. Tropic regions are already witnessing the effects of warmer temperatures, specifically with the increase in acidifying coral reefs. This university study is only relying on computer models that “attempt” to reproduce climate systems, based on collected data; however, I think the underlying message of the study is quite telling. The Earth is predicted to warm, the tropics will receive the highest concentration of intensive sun exposure, and we would be wise in curbing our greenhouse gas emissions now to preserve the future of our Earth.

Gillis, Justin. “By 2047, Coldest Years May Be Warmer Than Hottest in Past, Scientists Say.” The New York Times – Science, Environment. N.p., 9 Oct. 2013. Web. 9 Oct. 2013.

This post also appears on Blogspot