Recent past shows half a degree of warming means more extreme weather
Discriminating the climate impacts between warming levels of 0.5°C difference is high on the post-Paris science agenda. In their commentary, “In the observational record half a degree matters the scientists Dr. Carl-Friedrich Schleussner, Peter Pfleiderer, both of Climate Analytics and the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research, and Dr. Erich Fischer of ETH Zürich argue that the observational record can provide useful guidance for what half a degree warming means.
“As the IPCC prepares its special report on the impacts of 1.5°C of warming in the context of the Paris Agreement, one of the pressing questions for scientists today is whether we know that limiting warming to 1.5°C instead of 2°C would make a difference in the future. We have to rely on climate models to predict the future, but given we now have observational evidence of around 1˚C warming, we can also look at the real life impacts this warming has brought,” said Schleussner.
The scientists looked at the changes in extreme weather events as a result of a 0.5°C warming between two periods: 1960-1979 and 1991-2010.
“The hottest summer temperatures increased by more than 1°C in a quarter of global land areas, while the coldest winter temperatures warmed by more than 2.5°C,” said Pfleiderer.
Extreme precipitation intensity increased by at least 9% in a quarter of land areas.
The duration of warm spells increased by about a week in half of land areas – substantially outside of the range of natural variability.
These findings give an indication of the climate impacts that could result from an additional half a degree of global warming in the future, although future impacts of additional warming will likely be higher.“As we’re moving increasingly outside of the range of natural climate variability, we have to expect that impacts on agriculture, human and biological systems will be more pronounced,” said Schleussner.
These findings may be helpful to guide our perception of 1.5°C versus 2°C.
“Communicating abstract quantities like differences in global mean temperature is difficult. With the warming the world has already experienced, we have an actual record of warming to study, and we can see very clearly that a difference of 0.5˚C of warming really does matter,” said Fischer.
Schleussner, C. et al. (2017) In the observational record half a degree matters, Nature Climate Change doi: 10.1038/nclimate3320
Weak GST text fundamentally puts 1.5°C out of reach
Bill Hare, CEO, reacts to the new draft of the Global Stocktake text at COP28 on Monday evening.
Carbon capture and storage could unleash 86 billion tonne carbon bomb
A new analysis finds reliance on carbon capture and storage could release an extra 86 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere between 2020 and 2050.
Projected warming almost unchanged for two years as governments push false solutions over climate action
Despite their promises, governments have not taken enough action to drive down warming projections, with some instead turning to false solutions such as carbon capture and storage to continue the world's reliance on fossil fuels, according to the Climate Action Tracker's annual warming update.
All greenhouse gas emissions could peak in 2023
A new report finds maintaining current solar, wind and electric vehicle growth rates could lead to peak emissions in 2023.
Oil and gas majors could have paid for their share of climate loss and damage and still earned 10 trillion USD: new report
Global climate damages from emissions associated with the top 25 oil and gas ‘carbon majors’ between 1985 and 2018 are estimated at 20 trillion USD compared to the 30 trillion USD they earned over the same period, according to a new report released today by international think tank Climate Analytics.
A 1.5˚C pathway for the Philippines power sector entirely feasible: analysis
With the right international funding and policies in place, the Philippines could transition its’ power sector to near-100% renewable energy without compromising on the costs of electricity, reducing its reliance on expensive imports of both coal and gas, and creating up to a million jobs by 2050.
State of Climate Action report finds progress lags on every measure except EV sales
Global efforts to limit warming to 1.5°C are failing across the board, with recent progress made on every indicator — except electric passenger car sales — lagging significantly behind the pace and scale that is necessary to address the climate crisis.
Governments plan to produce double the fossil fuels in 2030 than the 1.5°C warming limit allows
The Production Gap Report finds governments plan to produce around 110% more fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C, and 69% more than would be consistent with 2°C.
Beetaloo fracking and Middle Arm emissions wildly underestimated: analysis
An independent analysis of the projected emissions from the Northern Territory's proposed Beetaloo Basin gas fracking project — and the associated Middle Arm LNG precinct in Darwin Harbour — has found they've been gravely underestimated, as have the availability of offsets to deal with them.
Remembering Saleemul Huq
We pay tribute to the highly revered climate expert and advocate Saleemul Huq, who passed away suddenly this Saturday.
Comic artists respond to the climate crisis
Three leading comic creators have collaborated with the Horizon Europe project, CONSTRAIN, to develop comics exploring the climate change challenge.