The longer-term effects of global warming


Looking to the past shows climate researcher Hubertus Fischer
the future. The further back he looks,
the further forward he can see. E.g. he uses ice drilling to try to reconstruct the climate from millions
of years ago. There are time periods there
that were warmer than today. That means they are examples of
a warmer climate than we have now. We can thus find examples
in the past of how the climate will
develop in the future. It’s been shown that some
parts of the earth’s system will first need to adapt to
new temperatures. The ice sheets in der Antarctic
or in Greenland, for example, continue to melt thousands of years
after a temperature rise. And the sea level will rise. Up to 2100 the change won’t
yet be so dramatic, but on a timeframe of
2,000-3,000 years the examples from the
past have shown that a global increase
of even 2 °C will probably raise the
sea level by 6 m. According to these calculations,
parts of many countries – like the coast of Florida shown here
in red – will disappear into the sea. This means that
despite the Paris Agreement, in which the member states agreed to an average of a 1.5-2 °C
rise in temperature, the earth will continue to
change over the long term. I.e., with such long timescales we then have to develop
adaptation strategies or remove the CO2 from the
atmosphere. To find the best possible solutions
for the Earth, the researchers are working with
the existing knowledge to create a more accurate picture of
the past, and thus the future.

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