New Met Office Map Details Consequences of Rising Temperatures

October 23, 2009

The UK’s Met Office, in cooperation with the government, has published a detailed and interactive map, illustrating the global consequences of failing to keep temperature increases to less than 2°C [3.6° F].

The map was developed “using the latest peer-reviewed science from the Met Office Hadley Centre and other leading impact scientists,” said the bulletin. “The poster highlights some of the impacts that may occur if the global average temperature rises by 4°C [7.2°F] above the pre-industrial climate average.”

The map’s release coincides with the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference scheduled for December. The UK Government is “aiming for an agreement that limits climate change as far as possible to 2°C. Increases of more than two degrees will have huge impacts on the world.”

The bulletin explained that the “poster shows that a four degree average rise will not be spread uniformly across the globe. The land will heat up more quickly than the sea, and high latitudes, particularly the Arctic, will have larger temperature increases. The average land temperature will be 5.5 degrees [nearly 10° F] above pre-industrial levels.”

The temperature increases would have an impact all over the planet. Some of the more important sectors affected would be water availability, agricultural productivity, dealing with extreme temperatures and droughts, as well as the increased risk of major forest fires and a significant rise in sea levels.

The Met Office findings indicate that “agricultural yields are expected to decrease for all major cereal crops in all major regions of production. Half of all Himalayan glaciers will be significantly reduced by 2050, leading to 23 percent of the population of China being deprived of the vital dry season glacial melt water source.”

UK Foreign Secretary, David Miliband commented: “We cannot cope with a four degree world. This map clearly illustrates the scale of the challenge facing us today.” It is a truly global problem that needs a global solution and it is a solution we have within our grasp.

“But to tackle the problem of climate change, all of us – foreign ministries, environment ministries, treasuries, departments of defense and all parts of government and societies – must work together to keep global temperatures to two degrees. It is only by doing this that we can minimize the huge security risks presented by a future four degree world.”

His brother, Ed Miliband, who serves as the UK’s Energy and Climate Change Secretary, pointed out that the map shows that “the stakes couldn’t be any higher at the Copenhagen talks in December. Britain’s scientists have helped to illustrate the catastrophic effects that will result if the world fails to limit the global temperature rise to two degrees. With less than 50 days left before agreement must be reached, the UK’s going all out to persuade the world of the need to raise its ambitions so we get a deal that protects us from a four degree world.”

Vicky Pope, Head of Climate Change Advice at the Met Office, added: “If emissions continue at the current rate the global average temperature are likely to rise by 4°C by the end of this century or even substantially earlier. The science tells us that this will have severe and widespread impacts in all parts of the world, so we need to take action now to reduce emissions to avoid water and food shortages in the future.”

The map may be accessed at:

Source: Met Office –

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