Believe it or not, the planet could be much warmer in the next few years, according to new research.
The research, published this week in Geophysical Research Letters, indicates that Earth could be 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 C) warmer than in the late 1800s over the span of about nine years.
“Global temperature is rapidly approaching the 1.5°C Paris target,” the paper states.
According to the paper, a natural cooling cycle the planet has been in that may have kept temperatures from rising even higher than they have could actually change sometime soon and send temperatures higher.
In the absence of external cooling influences like volcanic eruptions, temperature projections exceed the 1.5°C target before the year 2029, the paper staes.
According to the paper, the phase of the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation, a natural oscillation in the climate system, will regulate the rate at which global temperature approaches the 1.5°C level.
“A transition to the positive phase of the IPO would lead to a projected exceedance of the target centered around 2026,” the paper states. “If the Pacific Ocean remains in its negative phase, however, the projections are centered on reaching the target around 5 years later, in 2031. Given the temporary slowdown in global warming between 2000 and 2014, and recent climate model predictions suggestive of a turnaround in the IPO, a sustained period of rapid temperature rise might be underway. In that case, the world will reach the 1.5°C level of warming several years sooner than if the negative IPO phase persists.”
Indiana University announced plans this week to create a $55 million Environmental Resilience Institute to forecast environmental change and predict how it will affect Indiana’s businesses and residents, the Indianapolis Star reported.
Fred Cate, the school’s vice president for research, told the paper that whether people believe climate change is a result of human activities or just a part of a natural shift does not matter.
“For the purposes of this project, it does not matter what you think is the cause of climate change,” Cate said. “In every county in the state, the majority believe that climate change is a reality. There’s a fight over how we got here; no fight at all over that we are here.”
The Institute will focus on three main objectives, according to the article.
Scientists will aim to provide accurate forecasts for both the short term and long term to help businesses and communities prepare, law school professors will join with those in the liberal arts and the public and environmental affairs to advise government and businesses, while those in communication will focus on sharing the message and encouraging public engagement, the story states.
California Climate Change
Experts told California lawmakers on Wednesday that the state’s cap-and-trade program needs to be changed if they want to keep it beyond its 2020 expiration date.
The Senate Environmental Quality Committee heard from environmental groups and industry officials as the state Legislature begins discussions about whether to extend the program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reported Associated Press writer Jonathan J. Cooper.
The program, which caps carbon emissions and requires polluters to obtain permits to release climate-changing gases, was designed to help the state meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions to their 1990 levels by 2020.
Lawmakers adopted an even more aggressive goal last year of reducing emissions an additional 40 percent by 2030.
Lawmakers are considering several proposals, the story states.
“We think we have a good program to work from but it can and should be improved,” Alex Jackson, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, told Cooper.
Assembly bill 378 would continue the current program with some tweaks, including efforts to reduce air pollutants at industrial facilities. Senate Bill 775 would end the current program and put in place a new system that taxes carbon but does not have a hard cap on emissions. The bill would use much of the revenue to pay California residents to offset higher costs for gas and electricity, according to the article.
Tornadoes and Climate Change
Tornadoes are bad news for mobile homes.
Here’s some worse news: A new study by Michigan State University researchers shows the volatility of climate change and the potential for massive property damage and deaths may be even higher in coming decades.
The number of mobile homes in the U.S. has risen to roughly 9 million, and the nation is the most tornado-prone country in the world, with an average of 1,200 twisters per year. Scientists predict climate change will continue fueling more unstable weather events including tornadoes.
The annual impact of tornadoes is expected to increase threefold over the next few decades due to the “twin forces of increased climate variability and growth in the human-built environment,” according to the study.
The authors’ recommendations include requiring communal shelters in mobile home parks and eliminating the tax breaks that mobile home owners receive and directing that extra revenue toward emergency management and public safety efforts.
“If the climatologists are right about the continuing effects of climate change,” said Mark Skidmore, MSU economics professor and co-author of the study, “then people living in mobile homes could be particularly vulnerable to tornadoes in the years to come.”
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