Asia faces future of fierce monsoons, UN climate panel says
Global warming to reach Paris accord cap within 20 years in best-case scenario
TOKYO -- Asia will face stronger monsoons and flooding in the coming decades as global temperatures continue to rise, even under the best scenario for greenhouse gas emissions, a United Nations climate panel said Monday.
Average global temperatures are on track to warm by 1.5 C within 20 years, a decade sooner than predicted in 2018, according to the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Under these conditions, "heavy precipitation and associated flooding are projected to intensify and be more frequent in most regions in Africa and Asia," the panel said.
"In the long term, South and Southeast Asian monsoon and East Asian summer monsoon precipitation will increase," it said.
The report tightens the deadline for keeping the rise in global temperatures within the 1.5 C ceiling set by the Paris Agreement on climate. This will pose a stern test of international cooperation at the U.N. climate conference known as COP26 scheduled for November.
"It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land," the report said.
Warming likely will hit 1.5 C within two decades even if net-zero global greenhouse gas emissions are achieved between 2050 and 2060, the best of the five scenarios examined by the report. The panel, which previously estimated the time frame for reaching 1.5 C at between 2030 and 2052, refined its projections through improved climate modeling and new data from the Arctic.
People worldwide generated roughly 2,390 gigatons of carbon dioxide between 1850 and 2019, with 1 gigaton equal to 1 billion tons. If total future emissions from 2020 onward are held to 400 gigatons, the panel sees a 67% chance of staying within the 1.5 C limit. But with annual emissions now averaging 30 to 40 gigatons, that mark could be reached in as little as 10 years.
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