Earth’s climate could be unrecognizable in 2100

Climate change risks altering the nature of climatic zones, transforming them radically. According to new projections, almost half of the planet’s climate zones are likely to be in a different climate than today, in 2100.

The planet’s climate is already changing. It is a warming of temperatures and, more generally, a climate change. It is still possible to take action to reduce its magnitude — in particular by urgently reducing the level of greenhouse gas emissions. By extrapolating, it is possible to determine how much the climate might change.

An important metamorphosis could take place concerning the climatic zones (climate zones). These zones are generally divided according to the Köppen classification: they are divided according to the level of temperature and precipitation. There are several, very different, on the globe.

“Climate warming and changes in precipitation lead to significant changes in climatic zones”, thus raises a study published in April 2023. The latter projects itself into the future by questioning the state of climatic zones in the l year 2100 — within 80 years, therefore.

Half of Earth’s climate zones will be in a different climate

The research team arrived at a numerical estimate: 38 to 48% of the climatic zones will be found, in 2100, in a climatic zone different from today. This means that almost half of these climatically defined regions will end up with very different parameters: much higher or lower levels of precipitation, and much higher temperatures.

It is the addition of the most recent climate models, in the projection system, that shows such a different future. The latter, based on the current state of the climate and the changes that have occurred since the industrial era, show that the rate of change in the climatic zones could accelerate.

But what will these changes consist of? Tropical and arid climates, in particular, will see their share increase in overall land mass:

  • Tropical climates could drop from 23% to 25% by 2100;
  • Arid climates would increase from 31% to 34% by 2100.

The proportion of icy areas is receding on Earth. // Source: Pixabay

As for the location of these changes, there are also specificities:

  • 89% of Europe could see its climate completely change;
  • 66% of North America is also expected to enter a new climate;
  • The polar areas are experiencing the “most extreme” change according to the study, as in their case it is a reduction in their coverage. They once covered 7.69% of the globe, before reaching 6.47% today. In 2100, according to the study, this would fall to 2.13%.
  • Africa would not see, according to these models, any change in its own climate. But the anomalies of heat and drought will always be more accentuated.

The study does not take into account the Antarctic, whose data are too insufficient. And, of course, there is a high degree of uncertainty to bear in mind, particularly because precipitation levels are more difficult to project than temperatures — and this is just as important a criterion in a climate. But these forecasts are consistent with all climate studies: without extensive and rapid action, the climate will continue to deteriorate. Areas of the Earth could simply become uninhabitable – which could also induce major population displacements.


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