To assess the impacts of different mean global warming levels, the international group of researchers combined existing simulations from 19 climate change models with eight different global warming trajectories. The latter ranged from 1.5C to 5C increases above pre-industrial levels, resulting in a total of 152 climate change scenarios that were examined.
In addition to water shortages, the researchers assessed the impact that future climatic changes may have on global terrestrial ecosystems. They sought to discover what areas will be affected by strong ecosystem changes, and whether these areas are rich in biodiversity and/or contain unique species.
"At a global warming of 2C, notable ecosystem restructuring is likely for regions such as the tundra and some semi-arid regions. At global warming levels beyond 3C, the area affected by significant ecosystem transformation would significantly increase and encroach into biodiversity-rich regions," continued Dr Gerten.
"Beyond a mean global warming of 4C, we show with high confidence that biodiversity hotspots such as parts of the Amazon will be affected."
|Contact: Michael Bishop|
Institute of Physics