The UK government and the Met Office have launched an interactive map that illustrates the consequences of global temperature change above 2°C. Based on the latest climate change science, it highlights a range of impacts, including forest fires, crop production, water availability, sea level rises, extreme temperatures, water shortages, etc.
The four degree average rise map highlights the fact that the impact will not be spread uniformly around the globe -land will heat up more quickly than the sea and high latitudes, particularly the Arctic, will have larger temperature increases.
The map is part of the UK governments efforts to steer the climate change talks in Copenhagen towards limiting climate change to 2 °C, given the impact of higher temperatures. This seems an increasingly unlikely target, though, given the limited global action to date and the lack of will to reach an international agreement.
Vicky Pope, Head of Climate Change Advice at the Met Office, said: “If emissions continue at the current rate the global average temperature are likely to rise by 4°C by the end of this century or even substantially earlier. The science tells us that this will have severe and widespread impacts in all parts of the world, so we need to take action now to reduce emissions to avoid water and food shortages in the future.”
The full interactive map, which has lots of associated information based on geography and type of impact (a great teaching aid) is here. Don’t get too depressed.