How fast are the temperatures rising

questions and answers

Status: 03.12.2018 9:50 p.m. | archive

Extreme drought, low water levels: the hot summer of 2018 was a foretaste of what could become normal in the wake of climate change. Climate researchers are already warning of a new "hot season" if the earth continues to warm in the course of climate change. But how has global temperature changed in the past few decades? What are the prognoses for the future? NDR.de has put together questions and answers about global warming.

How has the global temperature developed in the past few years?

Scientists are already seeing an increase in the global average temperature of 1.0 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels. According to initial analyzes by the World Weather Organization, the years 2015 to 2018 were the four warmest since records began in the 19th century. And the 20 warmest were in the past 22 years.

What are the consequences?

The consequences of climate change have long been felt - from the melting of glaciers in the Alps to droughts in East Africa. Worldwide, more people are fleeing natural disasters and climate events than war and violence.

Extreme weather conditions are increasing in Germany - depending on the region, this can mean more heat, heavy rain or flooding. Nonetheless, emissions of the climate killer, carbon dioxide, are increasing worldwide this year instead of decreasing. Furthermore, massive new coal-fired power plants are being built in many countries, most cars are still non-electric and many economic sectors are geared towards oil, coal and gas. If the current trend continues unchecked, the average temperature will be 1.5 degrees higher between 2030 and 2052 than before the industrial revolution, according to the IPCC.

2 degrees or 1.5 degrees - is that a big difference?

For a long time there was talk of the so-called 2-degree target - now scientists and climate protectors want to get states to commit to cap global warming to 1.5 degrees by the end of the century. Because this half a degree makes enormous differences, as these three examples show:

  • Rise of the sea level: A global warming of 1.5 degrees by the year 2100 would cause the sea level to rise by around 35 centimeters. At 2 degrees, on the other hand, it would be around 50 centimeters - a danger for coasts and flat islands like Fijis.
  • Weather extremes: With a global warming of 1.5 degrees, droughts, floods and storms would occur much less frequently than with a warming of 2 degrees. This protects against crop failures - and saves lives.
  • Coral death: If the temperature increased by 1.5 degrees, around 70 percent of the corals in the sea would bleach. At 2 degrees it would be 99 percent - almost all corals would die.

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How warm will it be in my region?

Climate change is often very abstract because it involves long periods of time and it is difficult to make accurate predictions. The so-called climate duplication, which is based on data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is intended to make precisely these changes tangible: In it, so-called climate partners were calculated for German cities. With a global warming of only 1.8 degrees compared to the pre-industrial age, it could be as warm in Hamburg in 2080 as it has been in Mokhotlong in Lesotho in southern Africa. And if the two-degree target is not achieved, but global warming of around 4.2 degrees Celsius occurs, the effects would be correspondingly more serious.

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