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The Outlook

To understand where we are heading we first need to understand how we measure our changing climate. Here Alec Baldwin as a part of his award winning podcast, Here's The Thing interviews climate scientists Drs. Kate Marvel and Peter deMenocal on how climate predictions are made.

  • Here's The Thing - Climate Science Explained
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  • Alec Baldwin, Dr. Peter deMenocal & Dr. Kate Marvel
00:00 / 00:00

 

"Global warming??? What global warming??? Its raining in August?!"

 

We've hear this many times before and it highlights an important differentiation: weather vs climate. Weather is the day-to-day state of the atmosphere with an outlook of days to weeks. Climate looks at the average weather conditions over a period of 30 years or more. While weather forecasts use up to date satellite information and local weather stations to help predict up and coming weather events, climate predictions differ. They look at what the world may look like in 25 to 100 years from now. This is done using "climate models", computer simulations that look at how various factors will change our climate. For example climate scientists can assess the affects of a rise in sea temperatures on sea levels and local weather systems. To create these models and thus assist climate scientists in these predictions, data is used from satellites, trees and ice cores allowing them look into past climates. 

In 2018 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) produced a report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. It states that humans are estimated to have caused 1°C of global warming since pre-industrial levels and this is likely to rise to 1.5°C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues at the current rate. It is clear however that the rate is increasing. Climate models predict significant increases in extreme weather events, surface temperatures and drought between 1.5°-2°C of global warming. Climate models predict that by 2100 sea levels will be 0.1m (48cm vs 58cm) higher if we exceed global warming of 1.5°C. While 0.1m may not seem much it would expose a further 10 million people to sea rise related risks. By allowing global warming to exceed the 1.5°C increase in global warming we can expect a 3% decrease in crop yield, a 5% decrease in global GDP and a 2 month increase in average drought length by 2100.

Click on the sun above to find out more on the impacts of climate change at 1.5°C, 2°C and beyond. Our future depends on how we act. On 22nd April 2016 175 world leaders signed the Paris Agreement at the UN Headquarters in New York. The aim of the agreement was to limit global warming to well below 2°C. To limit further rises in global warming we now need to aim for carbon neutrality (net zero carbon emissions). The graph below shows us possible predictions in the future of global warming based on when we achieve net zero carbon emissions. 

Weather

The major concern is that not enough people are listening and we are way off target to keeping global warming below 1.5°C.

Please click on the Extinction Rebellion logo to be linked to their website to find out more about the current climate emergency.

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Click the return button and scroll left to learn how healthcare influences climate change.