SOURCE: Agence France Presse
DATE: January 1, 2018
SNIP: More than a quarter of Earth’s land surface will become “significantly” drier even if humanity manages to limit global warming to two degrees Celsius, the goal espoused in the Paris Agreement, scientists said on Monday.
But if we contain average warming to 1.5 C (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), this will be limited to about a tenth — sparing two-thirds of the land projected to parch under 2 C, they concluded in a study published in Nature Climate Change.
Aridification is a major threat, hastening land degradation and desertification, and the loss of plants and trees crucial for absorbing Earth-warming carbon dioxide.
It also boosts droughts and wildfires, and affects water quality for farming and drinking.
The team found that at 2 C, which could arrive any time between 2052 and 2070, between 24 percent and 32 percent of the total land surface will become drier.
This includes land in all five climate categories today — hyper-arid, arid, semi-arid, dry sub-humid, and humid.