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Climate change: 6 points of no return that are likely to be crossed, according to a new study – Latest US News Hub

Current rates of warming will put Earth at risk of crossing six “dangerous” climate tipping points, according to a new analysis.

Transfer these limits would affect the systems of the planetleading to the collapse of ice sheets and the loss of coral reefs.

Scientific commentators have previously said that to reach that point would be to reach a “climate emergency”,

The researchers analyzed evidence of points of no return in 200 recent investigations.

They took into account:

  • At what temperatures would the points of no return be reached?
  • What impacts would they have on other Earth systems.
  • On what timescales the impacts would be felt.

The research, based on data published since 2008, found that there is already a risk of current levels of global warming reaching six climatic tipping points, and the risks increase with every tenth of a degree of warming.

The Climate Action Tracker estimates that even under an optimistic scenario in which current global climate targets are met, the world will see an average warming of 1.8ºC (35.24ºF)

The points of “no return”

The idea of ​​”climatic points of no return” was first put forward by the United Nations climate science group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), two decades ago.

If they intersect, they could trigger a significant change in the way Earth’s systems operate, affecting oceans, climate and chemical processessome of which could be “irreversible”, according to the United Nations.

Once a point is crossed, the breakdown of the system is self-sustaining, so it will continue even if there is no further heating.

It is self-perpetuating: a bit like when a ball starts rolling down a hill without being able to stop.

Getty Images
The Greenland ice sheet is the main contributor to rising sea levels.

At the time it was believed that the points would only cross if global temperatures rose by more than 5°C.

But since then, more and more evidence has been amassed showing how these limits can be crossed much sooner.

what are the points

The six points that “probably” intersect, according to research published in the journal Scienceare:

  • The collapse of the Greenland ice sheet.
  • The collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet.
  • The collapse of ocean circulation in the North Atlantic polar region.
  • Extinction of coral reefs in low latitudes.
  • Sudden melting of permafrost (permanently frozen ground layer) in northern regions.
  • Abrupt loss of sea ice in the Barents Sea.

Lead study author David Armstrong McKay, from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, University of Exeter and the Earth Commission, said signs of destabilization are already being seen in the polar regions, and this is the step that precedes to system collapse.

Greenland and Antarctica are currently losing ice six times faster than they were 30 years ago, and the Greenland ice sheet has been shrinking continuously for the past 25 years due to climate change, according to the United Nations.

And while some of the other tipping points, like a die-off in the Amazon, are not expected to happen unless global temperatures rise by at least 3.5°C, all of these systems are connected.

So as one system begins to fail, it could increase the chances of others collapsing,

Multiple points of no return

Co-author Ricarda Winkelmann, a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and a member of the Earth Commission, said: “Many of the elements in Earth systems are interconnected, making the points of no return in the waterfall are an additional serious concern “

For example, if there are smaller or fewer ice sheets and less sea ice, then less of the sun’s energy is reflected, leading to more global warming.

The team suggested that in addition to identifying these risks, the list of points of no return could be increased to 16.

The team worked with paleoclimatic data (climatic conditions thousands of years ago), current observations, and the results of climate models to make these new identifications.

But some of the earlier tipping points, such as the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, have been removed from the list for lack of evidence.


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Climate change: 6 points of no return that are likely to be crossed, according to a new study


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