Here’s What Earth Might Look Like In 100 Years If We’re Lucky


President Donald Trump on Thursday announced his intent to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord.

“We’re getting out, but we will start to negotiate to see if we can make a deal that is fair,” Trump claimed during a televised briefing at the White House.

Trump’s widely denounced decision comes on the heels of the hottest year the world has seen since 1880 when scientists first started keeping global temperature logs and the fifth annual heat record of the past dozen years.

Overall, planet Earth has warmed 2.3 degrees Fahrenheit (1.26 degrees Celsius) above preindustrial averages, which is dangerously close to the 2.7-degree-Fahrenheit (1.5-degree-Celsius) limit set by international policymakers for global warming. (Some argue this cutoff is arbitrary, though it could still rein in some of the most disruptive changes to human civilization.)

“There’s no stopping global warming,” Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist who is the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, previously told Business Insider. “Everything that’s happened so far is baked into the system.”

That means that even if carbon emissions were to drop to zero tomorrow, we’d still be watching human-driven climate change play out for centuries. And we all know emissions aren’t going to stop. So the key thing now, Schmidt said, is to slow climate change down enough to make sure we can adapt to it as painlessly as possible.

This is what the Earth could look like within 100 years if we succeed in curbing climate change with international agreements like the Paris climate accord (barring huge leaps in renewable energy or carbon-capture technology).

“I think the 1.5-degree [2.7-degree F] target is out of reach as a long-term goal,” Schmidt said. He estimated that we will blow past that by about 2030.

Stephane Mahe/Reuters

But Schmidt is more optimistic about staying at or under 3.6 degrees F, or 2 degrees C, above preindustrial levels. That’s the level of temperature rise the UN hopes to avoid.

Vincent Kessler/Reuters

Let’s assume that we land somewhere between those two targets. At the end of this century, we’d be looking at a world that is on average about 3 degrees Fahrenheit above where we are now.

But average surface temperature alone doesn’t paint a full picture of climate change. Temperature anomalies or how much the temperature of a given area is deviating from what would be “normal” in that region will swing wildly.

Oli Scarff/Getty

For example, the temperature in the Arctic Circle soared above freezing for one day in 2016 that’s extraordinarily hot for the arctic. Those types of abnormalities will start happening a lot more.

Bob Strong/Reuters

That means years like 2016, which had the lowest sea-ice extent on record, will become more common. Summers in Greenland could become ice-free by 2050.

In the summer of 2012, 97% of the Greenland Ice Sheet’s surface started to melt. That’s typically a once-in-a-century occurrence, but we could see extreme surface melt like that every six years by end of the century.
In the summer of 2012, 97% of the Greenland Ice Sheet’s surface started to melt. That’s typically a once-in-a-century occurrence, but we could see extreme surface melt like that every six years by end of the century.

On the bright side, ice in Antarctica will remain relatively stable, making minimal contributions to sea-level rise.

However, unexpected ice shelf collapses could surprise researchers with extra sea-level rise.

A 300-foot-wide, 70-mile-long rift in Antarctica’s Larsen C Ice Shelf, as seen in November 2016.John Sonntag/IceBridge/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Even in our best-case scenarios, oceans are on track to rise 2 to 3 feet by 2100. That could displace up to 4 million people.

Thomson Reuters

Oceans absorb about one-third of all carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, causing them to warm and become more acidic. Rising temperatures will therefore cause oceans to acidify more around the globe.

In the tropics, that means nearly all coral reef habitats could be devastated. Under our best-case scenario, half of all tropical coral reefs are still threatened.

Read the original article on Business Insider.Follow us onFacebookandTwitter. Copyright 2017.

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