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Global and regional impacts of climate change at different levels of global temperature increase

Arnell, N. W., Lowe, J. A., Challinor, A. J. and Osborn, T. J. (2019) Global and regional impacts of climate change at different levels of global temperature increase. Climatic Change, 155 (3). pp. 377-391. ISSN 1573-1480

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1007/s10584-019-02464-z


The assessment of the impacts of climate change at different levels of global warming helps inform national and international policy discussion around mitigation targets. This paper provides consistent estimates of global and regional impacts and risks at increases in global mean temperature up to 5 °C above pre-industrial levels, for over 30 indicators representing temperature extremes and heatwaves, hydrological change, floods and droughts and proxies for impacts on crop yields. At the global scale, all the impacts that could plausibly be either adverse or beneficial are adverse, and impacts and risks increase with temperature change. For example, the global average chance of a major heatwave increases from 5% in 1981–2010 to 28% at 1.5 °C and 92% at 4 °C, of an agricultural drought increases from 9 to 24% at 1.5 °C and 61% at 4 °C, and of the 50-year return period river flood increases from 2 to 2.4% at 1.5 °C and 5.4% at 4 °C. The chance of a damaging hot spell for maize increases from 5 to 50% at 4 °C, whilst the chance for rice rises from 27 to 46%. There is considerable uncertainty around these central estimates, and impacts and risks vary between regions. Some impacts—for example heatwaves—increase rapidly as temperature increases, whilst others show more linear responses. The paper presents estimates of the risk of impacts exceeding specific targets and demonstrates that these estimates are sensitive to the thresholds used.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Interdisciplinary Research Centres (IDRCs) > Walker Institute
Science > School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences > Department of Meteorology
ID Code:84996


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