Researchers have reported on Friday that only half a degree Celsius rise in global temperature has already caused massive heatwaves and heavy rain in may regions on the planet. What is more frightening, is that there is more to come.
By comparing two time periods of 20 years (1960-70 and 1991-2010) scientists revealed, that various kinds of extreme weather conditions have been boosted in terms of duration and intensity due to the rise in temperature by 0.5 C (0.9 F).
Summer heat has increased by more than 1C (1.8 F) across a quarter of Earth’s land areas and even the coldest winters have warmed by more than 2.5 C (4.5 F).
Extreme precipitation also grew almost 10% more intense across a quarter of all land masses. And the duration of hot spells, which can fuel devastating forest fires have lengthened by a week in half of the land areas.
According to the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, such changes in weather conditions are way beyond the bounds of natural variability.
“We have to rely on climate models to predict the future,” said lead author Carl-Friedrich Schleussner, a researcher at the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research.
“But given that we now have observational evidence of around 1 C warming, we can also look at the real-life impacts this warming has brought,” he said in a statement.
Although it might not look like much, but 0.5 degrees does matter. Earlier research based on computer models suggest that compared to 1.5 C, 2 C of warming would double the severity of crop failures, water shortages and heatwaves all over the world.
The study also revealed that this rise in temperature would be a threat to the world’s coral reefs, and marine wildlife.
The extra degrees might bring most reefs to extinction by the end of this century.