New Delhi: The current one to two degree Celsius increase in global warming by mid-century could put around 25% more people at risk of tropical cyclones, according to a new study.
However, emission reductions that would limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius could cumulatively protect more than 1.8 billion people from exposure to tropical cyclones until the end of this century, he said. declared.
Already today, hurricanes and typhoons are among the most destructive natural disasters in the world, potentially threatening around 150 million people each year. In addition to climate change, population growth is driving further exposure to tropical cyclones, especially in coastal areas of countries in East Africa and the United States.
“If we add population growth to a global warming of two degrees Celsius, by 2050 we might even see an increase of about 40% more people exposed to cyclones,” said a researcher from the Institute of Potsdam for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and Deutscher Wetterdienst. (DWD), Tobias Geiger.
“As the world’s population is expected to peak around the middle of the century, more people will face more intense cyclones, due to climate change – putting this higher population at risk,” Geiger, who is also the author principal of the new study published in ‘Nature Climate Change’ said in a statement.
The global ambition is to limit warming to well below two degrees Celsius, but compared to unmitigated climate change, even reaching two degrees Celsius of global warming 50 years later could lead to an entirely different outcome, because an interdisciplinary team of scientists from Germany, Switzerland and the United States found in a computer analysis: until 2100, population models project a population in unforced and steady decline in areas prone to cyclones to the global scale.
“This would partly offset the additional exposure caused by warming as Geiger points out:” If we quickly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and do not reach two degrees Celsius of global warming until 2100, it will probably limit the amount of global warming. increase in the number of people threatened by cyclones to 20 percent. This finding is essential because it shows that reducing global warming potentially postpones the severe impacts of tropical cyclones to the end of the second half of the century, when there would be far fewer people at risk. “
Timing is essential to assess exposure to cyclones
In the study, scientists analyzed the joint impacts of population development and climate change on people exposed to tropical cyclones – and found that when certain levels of warming are reached becomes crucial. The results are even more evident at the country level, explained Johannes Gutschow.
“Our model shows, in unprecedented detail, that by 2050, all countries at high risk for tropical cyclones are expected to experience an increase in exposure. Due to expected population growth, we have seen changes in exposure of almost 300% in some East African countries. , up to 100% in the United States and also a large increase for the Arabian Peninsula. “
This picture changes under slower warming scenarios. Johannes Gutschow added: “Basically our computer model can calculate the impact of any given warming scenario, globally and nationally, and its implications for the number of people threatened by tropical cyclones. variety of other climatic extremes, the occurrence of which depends only on absolute warming and not on timing. “
The co-head of PIK’s research department on transformation pathways, Katja Frieler, stressed: “According to the NDCs, the number of people at risk of cyclones would continue to increase throughout the century, for example in the regions. US hurricane prone. “
“Emissions reductions that would limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius could cumulatively protect more than 1.8 billion people from exposure to tropical cyclones until the end of this century compared to warming under emission reductions currently proposed. It is therefore high time to reduce greenhouse gas emissions rapidly to ensure the safety of as many people as possible, ”the statement added.