Climate Change – 10,000 Years of Damage
A recent study, published in the scientific journal, Nature Climate Change, has identified the risk that climate change, as a consequence of carbon emissions, will continue to advance for thousands of years unless drastic changes are made to global energy strategies.
The results of the report showed that “global warming will be as big as the end of the Ice Age”, a huge deviation from the environmental stability that civilisation has benefited from in the last 10,000 years of its development.
The researchers involved in the project were able to develop a clearer understanding of how the climate responded to, and recovered from, the era of glacial melting. In doing so they managed to reconstruct a record of natural carbon emission, temperature rise, glacial melting and sea-level rise extending back to the peak of the Ice Age, 20,000 years ago.
During the study, researchers based new scenarios for temperature rise, glacial melting, sea-level rise and coastal flooding on state-of-the-art climate and ice sheet models. Projections were then made based on research into the the last Ice Age that ended around 10,000 years ago.
At a projected global output of 1,280 billion tonnes of carbon across the coming centuries, the projected consequences include an increase in global average temperature far beyond the perceived safe threshold of 2 degrees Celsius.
What are the consequences?
As a result of the expected increase in global temperatures, other changes in the environment, such as ice field and glacial melting and rising sea levels, are expected to rise dramatically. In particular, melting glaciers and the massive ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica will combine for a rise in sea level of 25 metres, which could eventually contribute to the submergence of coastal areas that billions of people (almost 19 percent of the world’s current population) currently reside in.
This includes as many as 25 megacities around the world, potentially resulting in at least 50 percent of their populations forced from their businesses and homes.
What happens next?
These recent discoveries mean that dramatic changes to global climate change policies could be necessary for civilisations to continue to flourish. The paleo-climatological depiction not only provides the opportunity to gain perspective on sea level and global temperature rise, not just from the end of the Ice Age to present day, but provides the ability to provide an educated outlook on the next 10,000 years.