According to a study by scientists at the University of Hawaii, Manoa, within 35 years even the lowest monthly dips in temperatures will be hotter than we’ve experienced in the past 150 years.
The tropical countries will be the first to exceed the limits of historical extremes and experience an unabated heat wave that would threaten biodiversity and heavily populated countries with the fewest resources to adapt, a university press release stated citing the study.
Tropical areas are projected to experience unprecedented climates first – within the next decade, according to the study titled ‘The projected timing of climate departure from recent variability’.
The study also claims the average location on earth will experience a radically different climate by 2047. On the contrary, if greenhouse gas emissions can be stabilized the global mean climate departure will be in 2069.
“The results shocked us. Regardless of the scenario, changes will be coming soon,” Camilo Mora of the university’s College of Social Sciences’ Department of Geography said.
“Within my generation, whatever climate we were used to will be a thing of the past,” he added.
The study also found that sea surface temperatures have surpassed the limits of historical extremes in 2008. Tropical species are unaccustomed to climate variability and are, therefore, more vulnerable to relatively small changes. The tropics hold the world’s greatest diversity of marine and terrestrial species and will experience unprecedented climates some 10 years earlier than anywhere else on earth, according to the press statement.
Previous studies have already shown that corals and other tropical species are currently living in areas near their physiological limits.
According to the study, the overarching global effect of climate change on biodiversity will occur not only as a result of the largest absolute changes at the poles but also, perhaps more urgently, from small but rapid changes in the tropics.
The study suggested that conservation planning could be undermined as protected areas would face unprecedented climates just as early and because most areas of high species diversity are located in developing countries.
These changes would affect social systems as well, it said.
The impact on the tropics has global implications as these regions are home to most of the world’s population, contribute significantly to the total food supplies and house much of the world’s biodiversity.–IANS