Summer could be one long heatwave if planet hits 2 degrees Celsius

Date:

Share post:

Summer in some regions of the world will become one long heatwave even if global average temperatures rise only 2°C above pre-industrial levels and certain regions may become close to unliveable if temperatures increase by 5°C.

Summer could be one long heatwave if planet hits 2 degrees Celsius
Photo by Anna Jiménez Calaf on Unsplash

Even with just a 1.5°C increase in global temperatures there are significant changes to the length, intensity and frequency of heat waves in every part of the world.

That’s the finding of new research by Dr Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate system Science published today in Scientific Reports that divides the globe into 26 regions and looks at how heatwaves will change with every 1°C rise in global temperatures.

When all the regions are combined, for every 1°C of warming during summer the researchers found there would likely be:

    – An extra 14.8-28.2 heatwave days.
    – Heatwaves would be 3.4-17.5 days longer.
    – The peak intensity of heatwaves will increase 1.2°C-1.9°C.

But it’s when the researchers drilled down to the region-by-region level that the most startling changes appeared.

Use buttons (top right) to choose global temperatures then click on each land mass area to see how heatwaves change. 
Interactive map by James Goldie.

“We were particularly surprised by the alarmingly fast increase in heatwave days in the tropics where some regions transition to an almost constant heatwave state with just a 2°C rise,” said Dr Perkins-Kirkpatrick.

“We also found that even with just a 1.5°C increase in global temperatures, almost all regions started to experience heatwave events every four years that once only occurred every 30 years. If global temperatures were to rise by 5°C such events would occur every year.”

By dividing the globe into 26 distinct regions, the research also highlighted the wide variation in heatwave responses across the world. There was a much sharper increase in peak temperatures of heatwaves over the Mediterranean and Central Asia.

Meanwhile tropical regions saw many more additional heatwave days and longer continuous heatwaves than other parts of the world.

The only decline to appear across the research was the number of discrete heatwave events in two regions, Central America and Eastern Africa. But this was not good news because these regions also saw the greatest increase in heatwave days.

Effectively what had once been two heatwaves had now merged into one long heatwave.

“This study is yet another wake-up call to policymakers that we need to act on limiting the rise in global average temperatures due to human caused climate change,” Dr Kirkpatrick said.

“Without prompt action, there could be disastrous consequences for many regions around the world.”

Source: University of New South Wales [September 28, 2017]

ADVERTISEMENT

spot_img

Related articles

Wanted dead and alive: New concept for a better understanding of biodiversity in time and space

By now, biodiversity is a well known term even in the broader public, as it is used in...

Switzerland returns pre-Columbian treasure to Peru

Swiss authorities said Friday they had returned a pre-Columbian ceramic jug to Peru after police caught someone trying...

Fossil of largest known platypus discovered in Australia

No living mammal is more peculiar than the platypus. It has a broad, duck-like bill, thick, otter-like fur,...

Giant ‘balloon of magma’ inflates under Santorini

A new survey suggests that the chamber of molten rock beneath Santorini's volcano expanded 10-20 million cubic metres...

Excavations at Kortiktepe revealing centuries-old designs

Excavations at the Kortiktepe settlement in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir’s Bismil district have revealed various types of...

Ancient footprints found in peat at Borth beach

Human and animal fossilised footprints that may be from the Bronze Age have been exposed on a Ceredigion...

Independent evolutionary origins of complex sociality in marine life

In the world of evolutionary research, scientists studying the evolution of eusocial societies have traditionally relied on information...

Hydra can modify its genetic program

Champion of regeneration, the freshwater polyp Hydra is capable of reforming a complete individual from any fragment of...