News flash: as world warms, weather gets worse
As the globe warms, the risk of more frequent and severe forest fires, droughts, and floods rises. So says, well, the entire scientific community, forever. But a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is being billed as the most comprehensive look yet at the effects of climate change. With data from 52 climate simulations, British researchers looked at a range of scenarios. A global average temperature rise of up to 3.6 degrees is inevitable, they say, and could cause Europe, Asia, Canada, central America, and the Amazon to lose up to 30 percent of forest cover. A rise of 5.4 degrees or more would, um, really suck: it brings the deforestation probability up to 60 percent, and could also cause the world’s vegetation to switch from a net absorber of carbon dioxide to a net producer. Probability of ignorance in certain areas remains high under all scenarios. Sigh.