Climate Departure: When the coldest year is warmer than the warmest year on record

Climate map for cities
© WP

We're getting there, but we can do something

Among scientists who study our planet's climate, the term 'climate departure' has a very specific meaning: "It's the moment when average temperatures, either in a specific location or worldwide, become so impacted by climate change that the old climate is left behind. It's a sort of tipping point. [...] A city hits "climate departure" when the average temperature of its coolest year from then on is projected to be warmer than the average temperature of its hottest year between 1960 and 2005."

A big new study published in the prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journal Nature predicts that Earth as a whole, on the course that we're taking, will reach 'climate departure' in 2047. It also predicts when various cities will reach that point.

The cities marked by dark red dots are projected to hit climate departure really, really soon. Bad news: Many of these are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Lagos, Africa's largest city, with a population 21 million and rising, is already vulnerable to flooding. It's got only 16 years before it hits climate departure. Also vulnerable are Caribbean cities such as Kingston, Jamaica, which passes the tipping point in 2023. (source)

You can see a bigger version of the maps here, showing what is projected to happen with and without mitigation.

nasa global warming maps photo

It's not too late to act, though. By reducing carbon emissions significantly and switching our civilization to sustainable technologies, we can make a real difference. Even just buying some time could be crucial, because it allows us to keep developing things like better and cheaper solar panels, electric vehicles that can run on clean energy, improving building insulation, etc.

Via WaPo

See also: Happy Petrov Day! (How we narrowly avoided nuclear war on this day in 1983)

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