The recent version of the Köppen-Geiger climate classification maps anticipates what the climate will be like at the end of the century, regarding the effects of the environmental crisis that the planet is suffering.
The multinational study published in Scientific Data and led by Hylke Beck, assistant professor at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), predicts that changes in climate classification will accelerate in the coming decades. The phenomenon involves radical changes in various ecosystems.
Climate change costs 143 billion dollars a year
Between 2000 and 2019, extreme natural disasters caused by climate change cost $2.8 trillion.
The researchers updated the Köppen-Geiger climate classification, published in 2018, using historical data from four periods from 1901 to 2020. They used a refined selection of 67 models. of climate, excluding those with unrealistic CO2-induced warming rates. in analysis. The resulting projections are for two future cycles that extend up to 2099.
The Köppen-Geiger system of categorization is a tool used to understand the world’s climate. It considers five types of climatological states (tropical, dry, temperate, continental and polar) based on elements such as air temperature and precipitation trends. The classification is consistent with the global distribution of plants. The resource is useful for measuring the impact of climate change and developing ecological and ecohydrological applications.
The findings of the study point to a dramatic change in the Earth’s surface climate that will change the environmental conditions of different ecosystems. Researchers project that an area of 2.6 million square kilometers (km2) will shift from polar to cold states between the years 2071 and 2099. The area is equivalent to the size of Argentina, the eighth largest country in the world.
The conclusions also anticipate that 2.4 million km2 will change from a cold to a temperate climate; 1.1 million km2 shift from cold to dry temperatures, and 2.8 million km2 of temperate regions become tropical zones.
Long-term climate change
“Changes tend to happen gradually through the process of succession, where plants and animals constantly colonize and change an ecosystem over time,” Beck said.
Predicted changes in vegetation and climate by the end of the century have implications for biodiversity, ecosystem services and food security. The expansion of dry zones, for example, could lead to new levels of water stress, prolonged droughts and food shortages in some regions of the world.
According to the authors, the updated version of climate maps is a resource of great value for researchers and authorities in charge of developing sustainability policies. “These new maps offer a more refined and broader view,” explained the KAUST professor.