Monday, November 07, 2016

Record hot year may be the new normal by 2025

Public Release: 6-Nov-2016
Record hot year may be the new normal by 2025
No matter what we do, it is inevitable that the record hot year of 2015 will soon become an average year
University of New South Wales

The hottest year on record globally in 2015 could be just another average year by 2025 if carbon emissions continue to rise at their current rate, according to new research published in the Bulletin of American Meteorological Society.

And no matter what action we take, human activities had already locked in a "new normal" for global average temperatures that would occur no later than 2040, according to lead author Dr Sophie Lewis, from the Australian National University (ANU) hub of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science (ARCCSS).

However, while annual global average temperatures were locked in, it was still possible with immediate and strong action on carbon emissions to prevent record breaking seasons from becoming average - at least at regional levels.

"If we continue with business-as-usual emissions, extreme seasons will inevitably become the norm within decades and Australia will be the canary in the coal mine that will experience this change first," said Dr Lewis.

"That means the record hot summer of 2013 in Australia - when we saw temperatures approaching 50°C [122F] in parts of Australia, bushfires striking the Blue Mountains in October, major impacts to our health and infrastructure and a summer that was so hot it became known as the "angry summer" - could be just another average summer season by 2035.

"But if we reduce emissions drastically to the lowest pathway recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (RCP2.8), then we will never enter a new normal state for extreme seasons at a regional level in the 21st Century ."


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