Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Identifying climate impact hotspots across sectors

Date:
July 1, 2013
Source:
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
Summary:
One out of 10 people on Earth is likely to live in a climate impact hotspot by the end of this century, if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. Many more are put at risk in a worst-case scenario of the combined impacts on crop yields, water availability, ecosystems, and health, according to a new study.

A deserted village in Africa. Regions in East Africa are potential hotspots of climate impacts.
Credit: John Isaac/UN Photo

One out of 10 people on Earth is likely to live in a climate impact hotspot by the end of this century, if greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated. Many more are put at risk in a worst-case scenario of the combined impacts on crop yields, water availability, ecosystems, and health, according to a new study.

It identifies the Amazon region, the Mediterranean and East Africa as regions that might experience severe change in multiple sectors. The article is part of the outcome of the Intersectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP) that will be featured in a special issue of PNAS later this year.

"Overlapping impacts of climate change in different sectors have the potential to interact and thus multiply pressure on the livelihoods of people in the affected regions," says lead-author Franziska Piontek of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. "This is why we focus on multisectoral impacts around the world, which turn out to be felt in developed as well as developing countries."

The study is the first to identify hotspots across these sectors while being based on a comprehensive set of computer simulations both for climate change and for the impacts it is causing. Modelling groups from all over the world collaborated under the roof of the ISI-MIP project to generate consistent data. This is an unprecedented community effort of climate impact researchers worldwide to elucidate the risks that humankind is running. It aims at laying a new foundation for future analyses of the consequences of global warming.

"Now we looked for instance into the water availability during the last thirty years," says co-author Qiuhong Tang of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. "We took as the threshold the water availability only undercut by the three driest years. When the average water availability in our projections under global warming sinks below this threshold, we call this severe. So what today is considered extreme could become the new normal." This is the case in the Mediterranean.

The combination of multiple different impact and climate models increases -- even though this at first glance seems to be a contradiction in terms -- both the robustness and the spread of results. "We get a broader range in projections of future crop yields, for example, when we recognize assumptions in both the climate and the impact model processes. However, locations with strong agreement among model approaches are more reliable hotspots than those identified by a projection based on just one model with all its underlying assumptions," says co-author Alex Ruane of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies. "It allows for a risk management perspective -- in the hotspot parts of Africa, for instance, even small temperature rises can lead to additional losses that many small farmers simply cannot afford."

The study takes a conservative approach with regard to model agreement. To make allowance for the large spread of results, the scientists also computed a worst case-scenario, based on the most worrying 10 percent of computer runs. This assessment shows a large additional extent of multisectoral climate impacts overlap, with almost all the world's inhabitated areas affected.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Piontek, F., Mόller, C., Pugh, T.A.M, et al. Multisectoral climate impacts in a warming world. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2013 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1222471110

Cite This Page:

Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). "Identifying climate impact hotspots across sectors." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 July 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130701151604.htm>.
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). (2013, July 1). Identifying climate impact hotspots across sectors. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130701151604.htm
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). "Identifying climate impact hotspots across sectors." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130701151604.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — Mother Nature is pulling a trick on the kids of Arviat, Canada. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) tells us, the effects of global warming caused the town to ban trick-or-treating this Halloween. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins