A paper that details worrying tends about climate change has just been published in Nature. Basically, the authors say that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase as they have done in past decades, very soon – even as early as 2020 for some places on the equator such as Manokwari in Indonesia – the coldest year in any particular city or region will be hotter than the hottest year ever in its past, “past” here being defined as 1860 to 2005. The authors of the paper call this “climate departure”.
The research was carried out by scientists in Hawaii, who studied massive amounts of data, weather observations and computer models in 263 cities. Countries on the equator – which have in general done very little to hasten global warming – will be affected first, and other cities will follow according to their distance from the equator. Thus New York will experience its climate departure in 2047, Cape Town in 2038 and Reykjavik in 2066. As the furthest away, Anchorage in Alaska will climate depart in 2071. There is a five-year standard deviation on the figures and if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced, it will take about 20-25 years longer for each city to reach its climate departure point.
The scientists, headed by Camilo Mora, also looked at other variables including ocean acidity, which they found to be very disturbing. Give or take three years, in 2008 ocean acidity had already exceeded its historical bounds.
Food for thought.