It’s no secret that climate change is bad for humans. We all know about the rising temperatures, melting glaciers, and increasingly violent weather systems. But what you may not know is just how screwed we really are. And it’s going to be a lot worse than you think…
A study published today in The Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres has revealed that the Earth’s atmosphere is currently capable of absorbing far more carbon than we emit into it, and as a result we may have just 20 years before global warming starts to reverse.
The scientists behind the study, from Flinders University in South Australia, used a global circulation model to assess the balance between carbon sinks and sources. They found that the planet’s capacity to absorb atmospheric carbon has been overestimated by as much as 45 percent.
In other words, our best efforts so far at combating climate change may be for naught if we don’t start cutting emissions significantly by 2030.
“The land and oceans have been acting as a combined carbon sink, offsetting about half of the fossil fuel emissions for several decades, but this will not necessarily continue in the future,” lead author Professor Daniela Schmidt said of the findings.
In fact, another recent study suggests that global warming may be accelerating beyond all predictions, warning that the Earth could warm by as much as eight degrees Celsius (14.4 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100 if our greenhouse gas emissions aren’t controlled immediately and drastically.
The new research shows that if climate change continues at its current rate even briefly after 2030, this will have a long-term effect on atmospheric carbon sinks, meaning they will become less efficient at absorbing CO2 over time.
“The point at which the sinks start to saturate will be pushed back to earlier in the twenty-first century, perhaps by around 2040 – which is around 20 years ahead of schedule relative to what we previously thought,” Schmidt said.
In other words, our already bleak situation is far worse than we thought. “The window of opportunity to limit global warming below two degrees Celsius with high probability and without temporarily exceeding 2°C appears to be closing soon,” she added.
You know what that means? We should probably start working harder on figuring out how to colonize other planets… because Earth may not be habitable much longer.
The paper “Saturation of the southern ocean CO2 sink due to recent climate change” has been published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres .
Article Source: How climate change could make it impossible to breathe on Earth by Ellie Zolfagharifard for The Telegraph, UK
I have a request for all those that post articles from other sources on this blog: Kindly provide a link back to the original article. Thanks!