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The Antarctic Peninsula under a 1.5°C global warming scenario

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The Antarctic Peninsula under a 1.5°C global warming scenario: What change is it locked in to?

  • Date02 July 2019

A new briefing from the Grantham Institute, co-authored by Dr Bethan Davies, warns that if we fail to restrict temperature increase to 1.5°C globally, the Antarctic Peninsula will experience irreversible & dramatic change.

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As of today, global temperatures have risen by an average of 1°C from 1900 with the Antarctic Peninsula warming by over 2.5°C in the last 100 years, more than anywhere else in the Southern Hemisphere.  If global warming reaches 1.5°C, we can expect to see an increase in temperatures on the Peninsula by 1-2°C in winter and 0.5-1.0°C in summer, with up to 130 days per year above 0°C, leading to increased rain, snow and ice melt, and surface run-off.

Ice-free land area will expand, providing habitats for native and non-native plants and invertebrates, with each likely to benefit from warming. Indeed, non-native species are a far greater threat to the native Antarctic biodiversity than the direct impacts of warming under a 1.5°C scenario.

Dr Bethan Davies said: We are currently seeing rapid changes in land ice on the Antarctic Peninsula. These glaciers are melting and shrinking, contributing to sea level rise, and driving changes in ecosystems and ice shelves. However, if climate change is limited to 1.5°C, these changes will remain below a critical threshold and we can halt the greatest impacts. It is now time to act to restrict the damage we cause to fragile environments and species.”

 

For further information and to download the briefing follow this link.

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