The projected timing of climate departure from recent variability

Ecological and societal disruptions by modern climate change are critically determined by the time frame over which climates shift beyond historical analogues. Here we present a new index of the year when the projected mean climate of a given location moves to a state continuously outside the bounds of historical variability under alternative greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. Using 1860 to 2005 as the historical period, this index has a global mean of 2069 (=/- 18 years s.d.) for near-surface air temperature under an emissions stabilization scenario and 2047 (+/- 14 years s.d.) under a "business-as-usual" scenario. Unprecedented climates will occur earliest in the tropics and among low-income countries, highlighting the vulnerability of global biodiversity and the limited governmental capacity to respond to the impacts of climate change. Our findings shed light on the urgency of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions if climates potentially harmful to biodiversity and society are to be prevented.

Date Of Record Release
Description

Ecological and societal disruptions by modern climate change are critically determined by the time frame over which climates shift beyond historical analogues. Here we present a new index of the year when the projected mean climate of a given location moves to a state continuously outside the bounds of historical variability under alternative greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. Using 1860 to 2005 as the historical period, this index has a global mean of 2069 (=/- 18 years s.d.) for near-surface air temperature under an emissions stabilization scenario and 2047 (+/- 14 years s.d.) under a "business-as-usual" scenario. Unprecedented climates will occur earliest in the tropics and among low-income countries, highlighting the vulnerability of global biodiversity and the limited governmental capacity to respond to the impacts of climate change. Our findings shed light on the urgency of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions if climates potentially harmful to biodiversity and society are to be prevented.

Classification
Resource Type
Format
Subject
Keyword Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Global Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change Impacts, Global Warming
Date Of Record Creation 2019-01-26 19:50:21
Education Level
Date Last Modified 12/28/2015 21:21
Language English
Date Record Checked: 12/28/2015 21:17 (W3C-DTF)

Mission

EERL's mission is to be the best possible online collection of environmental and energy sustainability resources for community college educators and for their students. The resources are also available for practitioners and the public.

EERL & ATEEC

EERL is a product of a community college-based National Science Foundation Center, the Advanced Technology Environmental and Energy Center (ATEEC), and its partners.

Contact ATEEC 563.441.4087 or by email ateec@eicc.edu