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Three Degrees Hotter

December 12, 2010

So the smartarses of The Economist think we can adapt to three degrees warming (see Mankind’s Craziest Experiment below). Mark Lynas’ book Six Degrees has a chapter describing such a world and I’ve just consulted it.

Well, to start with three degrees actually means 4.5 degrees because of the way this thing accelerates but, sticking to the lower figure, expect perennial drought in southern Africa and for the populations already on the margin expect famine. Says the author : “The extent of drying in the three degree world is going to be far off any scale that would permit human adaptation.” Some evidence suggests it may mean super-El Ninos, with all that means for weather instability including longer, more savage droughts.
It spells the end of The Amazon, dried out and doomed once we get to two degrees warmer let alone three or 4.5 degrees.

It would also reverse the carbon cycle with vegetation releasing and no longer absorbing carbon. Oh, and the Arctic? Don’t worry, 80 per cent of it will have already gone before we get to three degrees.

Great experiment.

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