A scientist from Germany's Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research has presented a detailed timetable outlining when predicted effects of climate change are likely to be felt.
Bill Hare's paper, presented yesterday (2 February) at an international climate change conference in the United Kingdom, pulls together for the first time the projected impacts of rising global temperatures on ecosystems and wildlife, food production, water resources and economies across the planet.
The timetable shows that impacts are predicted to multiply rapidly as the average global temperature increases. It warned that the massive West Antarctic ice sheet could be disintegrating. If the entire sheet collapsed, sea levels around the world could rise by 4.9 metres.
World temperatures today are 0.7 degrees Celsius above the pre-industrial level and are expected to reach one degree above that level in the next 25 years. This will cause food production to decline and economies to weaken in some developing countries, said Hare.
He warned that by the second half of the century, when temperature could reach three degrees above pre-industrial levels, there would be massive ecological damage and critical shortages of food or water.Climate Change dossier