A new study published by researchers from Stanford University and Colorado State University has shown the world is on the brink of breaching a critical climate threshold, and the world might have little time left to deal with the most catastrophic effects of global heating.
The study which was conducted with the use of artificial intelligence to predict warming timelines found that 1.5C of warming over the industrial level will probably be crossed in the next decade.
It also showed that the Earth is on track to exceed 2C warming, which international scientists identified as a tipping point, with a 50% chance the grave benchmark would be met by mid-century.
“We have very clear evidence of the impact on different ecosystems from the 1C of global warming that’s already happened,” said Stanford University climate scientist Noah Diffenbaugh, who co-authored the study with atmospheric scientist Elizabeth Barnes. “This new study, using a new method, adds to the evidence that we certainly will face continuing changes in climate that intensify the impacts we are already feeling,”.
Utilizing a neural network, or a type of AI that recognizes relationships in vast sets of data, the scientists trained the system to analyze a wide array of global climate model simulations and then asked it to determine timelines for given temperature thresholds.
The model found that even if emissions rapidly decline, there’s still a nearly 70% chance that the two-degree threshold would be crossed between 2044 and 2065.
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a global consortium of scientists founded to assess climate change science for the UN, the effects of the world warming at 2C would be devastating and have severe consequences for ecosystems around the world, and the people, plants and animals that depend on them.
The IPPC also warned that the change will fuel a dangerous rise in disasters and the world will see unprecedented droughts and deluges, more firestorms and floods. Scorching heat waves will become more severe and more common and about one billion people will face a greater potential of fatal fusions of humidity and heat.
By offering a new way of predicting key windows, the new study has made an even more urgent case for curbing emissions and adapting to the effects that are already beginning to unfold and while progress is being made in shifting toward a more sustainable future, there’s a long way to go.
“Stabilizing the climate system will require reaching net zero. There are a lot of emissions globally – and it’s a big ship to turn around,” Diffenbaugh said.
Adapted from the Guardian.