Unless the continuous emission of greenhouse gases subsides in the near future, the Earth’s surface is going to get hotter than a Habanero pepper in the Sahara in July, according to research based in part on projections at the University of Hawaii. And the record-breaking heat, on an ever-increasing upward slope, is likely to commence about 10 years from now.
For the most part, greenhouse gas emissions come from the burning of coal, oil and natural gases, as well as from forest destruction and livestock. Even a significant mitigation of consumption will only delay the inevitable for perhaps 20 years.
The highest worldwide average temperature occurred in 2005. According to the studies headed by Camilo Mora and Ryan Longman, the entire world will pass the point of permanently-increasing record temperatures by 2047. The rollout, according to the study, will look approximately like this:
- Kingston, Jamaica – 2023
- Cairo, Egypt – 2026
- Singapore – 2028
- Mexico City – 2031
- Phoenix, AZ and Honolulu – 2043
- The whole world – 2047
Most greenhouse gases are caused by a variety of human behaviors. As world population grows and larger numbers of people move into a consumer middle class, the demand for the above-mentioned sources of greenhouse gases grows as well.
According to an Associated Press article of October 9, 2013 by Seth Borenstein, Mora, a biological geographer (who knew there is such a thing?) and his colleagues “ran simulations from 39 different computer models and looked at hundreds of thousands of species, maps and data points to ask when places will have ‘an environment like we had never seen before.’
“‘One can think of this year (2047) as a kind of threshold into a hot new world from which one never goes back,’ said Carnegie Institution climate scientist Chris Field, who was not part of the study. ‘This is really dramatic.’”
According to Mora, by 2043, 147 cities will have shifted to a range of temperatures that is beyond historical records. The first U.S. cities to experience this shift will be Honolulu and Phoenix, followed by San Diego (so much for having America’s best weather), Orlando, New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Detroit and Houston. Ironically, Seattle will get hit before Dallas. Anchorage comes in dead last among the 265 U.S. cities in the study. And that won’t be until 2071. The study allows for a five-year margin of error.
One variable that sets this study apart from most, if not all, others is that it includes the tropics. Since tropical temperatures don’t vary as much as those closer to the Earth’s poles, even a small temperature variation can have dramatic consequences. Mora says that a temperature variations of as little as three degrees in the tropics have dramatic outcomes in the part of the globe that contains most of the world’s biodiversity.
“The Mora team found that by one measurement—ocean acidity—Earth has already crossed the threshold into an entirely new regime,” says Borenstein. “That happened in about 2008, with every year since then more acidic than the old record, according to study co-author Abby Frazier.” Ocean acidity, like global warming, is partially a consequence of CO2 absorption. (For more on ocean acidification, click here.)
Adding credibility to the study, a Georgia Institute of Technology climate scientist who frequently clashes with mainstream researchers gave support by comparing the study with a study sponsored by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which came out in September.
So, while we seem to be crossing human-caused thresholds of environmental abuse, every day, humanity rushes headlong into increasing its numbers. Already more than Enough of Us are upsetting the Earth’s atmosphere with as-yet-unseen major consequences. The question remains: Will we stop before the consequences become catastrophic?
We invite the reader to search this site for more information on the consequences of climate change. Search “climate change” and “global warming.”