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The projected timing of climate departure from recent variability

Ecological and societal disruptions by modern climate change are critically determined by the time frame over which climates shift beyond historical analogues. Here we present a new index of the year when the projected mean climate of a given location moves to a state continuously outside the bounds of historical variability under alternative greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. Using 1860 to 2005 as the historical period, this index has a global mean of 2069 (=/- 18 years s.d.) for near-surface air temperature under an emissions stabilization scenario and 2047 (+/- 14 years s.d.) under a "business-as-usual" scenario. Unprecedented climates will occur earliest in the tropics and among low-income countries, highlighting the vulnerability of global biodiversity and the limited governmental capacity to respond to the impacts of climate change. Our findings shed light on the urgency of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions if climates potentially harmful to biodiversity and society are to be prevented.

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Date Of Record Release 2015-12-28 21:21:21
Description Ecological and societal disruptions by modern climate change are critically determined by the time frame over which climates shift beyond historical analogues. Here we present a new index of the year when the projected mean climate of a given location moves to a state continuously outside the bounds of historical variability under alternative greenhouse gas emissions scenarios. Using 1860 to 2005 as the historical period, this index has a global mean of 2069 (=/- 18 years s.d.) for near-surface air temperature under an emissions stabilization scenario and 2047 (+/- 14 years s.d.) under a "business-as-usual" scenario. Unprecedented climates will occur earliest in the tropics and among low-income countries, highlighting the vulnerability of global biodiversity and the limited governmental capacity to respond to the impacts of climate change. Our findings shed light on the urgency of mitigating greenhouse gas emissions if climates potentially harmful to biodiversity and society are to be prevented.
Classification
Resource Type
Format
Subject
Keyword Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Global Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change Impacts, Global Warming
Date Of Record Creation 2015-12-28 21:17:54
Education Level
Date Last Modified 2015-12-28 21:21:21
Language English
Date Record Checked: 2015-12-28 21:17:54 (W3C-DTF)

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