A team of international scientists suggests that global warming by 2500 will make the Amazon barren, the American Midwest tropical, and India too hot to live in unless there is a significant drop in CO2 emissions.
The study was conducted using global climate model projections. These projections were based on time-dependent projections of atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations for low, medium, and high mitigation scenarios up to the year 2500.
The results reveal an Earth that is alien to humans.
Christopher Lyon, a Postdoctoral Researcher under the supervision of Professor Elena Bennett at McGill University, said, “These projections point to the potential magnitude of climate upheaval on longer time scales and fall within the range of assessments made by others.”
Under low and medium mitigation scenarios, vegetation and the best crop-growing areas may move towards the poles. The arable lands- the area suitable for crops- would also be reduced. Places with long histories of cultural and ecosystem richness, like the Amazon Basin, may go barren.
What’s more, the model suggests that heat stress will reach fatal levels for humans in tropical regions that are highly populated. Even under mitigation scenarios, the sea level keeps rising due to expanding and mixing water in warming oceans.
Scientists said, “Although many reports based on scientific research talk about the long-term impacts of climate change – such as rising levels of greenhouse gases, temperatures, and sea levels – most of them don’t look beyond the 2100 horizon. To fully grasp and plan for climate impacts under any scenario, researchers and policymakers must look well beyond the 2100 benchmark.”
Lyon said, “The Paris Agreement, the United Nations, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s scientific assessment reports all show us what we need to do before 2100 to meet our goals, and what could happen if we don’t. But this benchmark, which has been used for over 30 years, is short-sighted because people born now will only be in their 70s by 2100.”
- Christopher Lyon, Erin E. Saupe et al. Climate change research and action must look beyond 2100. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.15871