New study warns of drier world in wake of continued global warming

New study warns of drier world in wake of continued global warming

The dryness of the Earth's surface, known as aridity, is a major factor in determining the incidence of natural disasters like drought and wildfires.

But efforts to limit that temperature change to only 1.5 degrees would prevent the drying out of about two-thirds of the areas that are at risk, according to the report.

Researchers looked at likely rates of aridification for different levels of global warming, including a 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius rise in the average global temperature.

Projections of 27 global climate models determined that 24 to 32 percent of the world's total land surface would suffer from aridification with a 2 degree increase, according to a Nature Climate Change study published Monday.

Dr Manoj Joshi from the University of East Anglia's School of Environmental Sciences and one of the study's co-authors said that aridification would emerge over 20 to 30 per cent of the world's land surface by the time the global temperature change reaches 2ºC (3.6ºF)'.

More than a quarter of the world's land surface, home to more than 1.5 billion people, would become more exposed to arid and droughts and wildfires could be widespread.

The findings, published today in Nature Climate Change, are the result of an global collaboration led by the Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in Shenzhen China and UEA. "But two thirds of the affected regions could avoid significant aridification if warming is limited to 1.5C", publication Phys.org reported. "For instance, in such a scenario 15 per cent of semi-arid regions would actually experience conditions similar to "arid" climates today".

That's according to a new study published by a team of worldwide researchers that has predicted that the huge swathes of the Earth would become immensely drier than they are now.

Prof Tim Osborn, also one of the study's co-authors from UEA, said: "The areas of the world which would most benefit from keeping warming below 1.5C are parts of south-east Asia, southern Europe, southern Africa, Central America and southern Australia where more than 20% of the world's population live today". Effects of global warming are quickly catching up on Kenya.

Droughts have already been made more severe by the beginning of the 21 century in places such as the Mediterranean basin and southern Africa, and deserts have spread in some areas of Mexico, Brazil and Australia, they write.

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