November 21, 2012

Forget 4C — what if #globalwarming goes to 6C?

Image from TragicPlanet.org
World Bank economists say forget about a 2C rise in temperatures by the end of this century. The expect a full 4C, or 9F change, is already pretty much “cooked in the books.”

Brad Plumer gives a good summary of just what’s at stake with that kind of change … including the fact that we probably don’t really know yet everything that could be at stake.
-->That said, the World Bank pulls together its and others’ best, latest estimates as to what it might mean.

The detailed report of what all this could mean is here (PDF). Oh, and US climate scientists at Boulder agree with theWorld Bank on potentially needing to worry.

This is not just scary … it’s scary as shit.

Poor countries will suffer the most … while the energy-gluttonous USofA adds most to the problem as people crank up the AC even more and demand more cheap electricity if this comes to pass.

That said, the World Bank report trying to worry us away from “cooking in” a 4C temperature rise due to greenhouse gases makes a point I never thought of before. These estimated temperature rises are for the whole world including oceans. Per the World Bank, if worldwide temps rise an average 4C, the rise on land could be 6C or higher:
“The largest warming will occur over land and range from 4°C to 10°C. Increases of 6°C or more in average monthly summer temperatures would be expected in large regions of the world, including the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Middle East, and the contiguous United States.”
How you like them apples, denialists? Did you see “contiguous United States” mentioned there?

Rick Perry and other wingnut Texans, do you really want to risk Texas being 11F hotter in summer? Picture Houston with an average high temperature in late August of nearly 110 degrees. (If you can.)

Today’s Phoenix with 3x the humidity … picture them apples, denialists; that’s what Houston could be by the end of the century.


Update, Nov. 29:

The International Energy Agency also expects the world’s global warming to hit 4C by the end of the century, as Alternet notes in this in-depth report about the future of world oil.

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