Welcome to +1℃ warmer Earth


This is the limit to average global temperature rise that the world has decided we should not cross this Century in order to prevent dangerous climate change. Some think of it as the safe limit despite many scientists warnings that we should really stay below 1.5℃ since two degrees would most likely have devastating consequences (Hansen et al. 2013; Hansen et al. 2015).


This is the amount of average global warming that we are now (2015) experiencing, according to the latest data from NASA. The recent reading is the first to show a consistent break at 1℃ above 1880s levels and is a scary milestone towards the catastrophic 2℃ we really want to avoid.

NASA’s geographic temperature anomalies for a record hot June in 2015. Source:NASA GISS.

The map above shows June temperature anomalies. We can see that there are large areas of 2-4℃ (orange-red) above average readings, mostly located in the Northern Hemisphere. Alaska, western Canada and western Asia has the highest readings. On average we can also see that most of the globe is at least 1℃ above normal, the exceptions being parts of the Atlantic ocean south of Greenland, Scandinavia and the South pole. This illustrates how one degree warming actually means a lot of different conditions around the globe. We have had heat waves in India and Pakistan, massive forest fires in western US and Canada and record breaking heat in parts of South America. But I’m afraid that most Swedes can only think of the rainy summer we are currently experiencing, which runs opposite to the global trend.

For those who don’t think +1℃ is such a big deal, lets look at some climate refugee statistics. Only 40 years ago, Earth’s climate was more stable with less extreme weather, when average temperatures were only 0.5℃ cooler than today. Mainly because there was less available heat energy to pump up storms and melt the polar regions, which is now impacting global wind patterns. We now live in a more dangerous world with a climate system more prone of producing extreme and disruptive weather events.

According to the Internal Displacement Monitoring Agency (IDMA) every person on Earth is now on average 60% more likely to be forced out of their homes by natural disasters, compared to 1975 (population growth accounted for). This is a staggering increase! Over the past 7 years some 158 million people have been forced to flee their homes due to natural disasters. In 2014, 92% of the total or 17.5 million people were forced to flee due to extreme weather events. The typhoons and floods in the Philippines and India ranking as the worst. Between 2008-2014, floods (55%), storms (29%), Earthquakes (14%) and extreme temperatures (1%) were the most common natural hazards leading to displacement. East Asia and the Pacific, which are densely populated developing regions, have been worst impacted.
Since 2008, an average of 26.4 million people have been displaced from their homes each year by disasters brought on by natural hazards, equivalent to one person displaced every second. Source: IDMC 2015


Out of the ashes into the fire

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