Why this new scale? Well, scales have proven them selves to be very effective into communicating certain natural phenomena. The Richter scale for earthquakes, the Beaufort scale for wind and the Fujita scale for tornado’s are all excellent examples in how anyone can easily categorize natural phenomena. As global warming for a lot of people is hard to comprehend a new scale would go a long way to make this more understandable. Hey, what’s the big deal about a couple of degrees of warming?
The scale goes from 0 to 10 with steps of 0.5°C of warming. At 0 there is no warming and at 10 you’ve run into a nightmare situation .
The temperature is in steps of 0.5°C which in reality are really big steps. For those who prefer Fahrenheit, that is there as well.
It’s estimated that with each degree of warming, food production goes down 10% simply as a result of heat stress. As land warms faster than the oceans, the warming on land is higher than indicated in the table. Also add drought, floods, sea level rise and all sorts of extreme weather and the number goes up quickly to roughly 20% loss per degree warming.
From 1880 till now we’ve been blessed with modern farming techniques like irrigation, fertilizer and pesticides. This has brought us a large increase in food production. But that increase has ran out of steam as we’re now experiencing crop failures in for example Africa, Russia and Syria. The way down has set in. One way to increase the food supply is to simply eat less meat.
Long Term – Sea level rise
Long term sea level rise is the rise we already made by increasing the temperature. As sea level rise is (or ought to be) a very slow process, it can take for centuries to experience the full burden of what we have done. Research has shown that in the past a temperature increase of between 1°C and 2°C has lead to 6 meters (or 20 feet) of sea level rise. For this scale that amount has been set at 3m per degree °C of warming, an estimate which might be on the conservative side.
CO2 and Year
CO2 levels and years have been placed at the well known RCP 6.0 or A1B scenario, which at the moment we’re tracking very closely.
pH and Acidity
Luckily for us the oceans absorb large quantities of CO2. However this decreases the pH levels in the water and increases ocean acidity at an exponential rate. This has the potential to disrupt the very fabric of life in the oceans so badly, that some experts find this to be the most threatening of all.
This is a glimpse of the future to come. All I can say is, let’s not make it so.
These are just some solid references: RCP Concentration Calculations and Data – IPCC: Changes in global average surface pH – Sea Level Could Rise at Least 6 Meters – Prof. David Battisti – Climate change and Global Food Security – pH scale and percentage change in acidity