This very short visualization from NASA shows two global warming scenarios. In the first carbon dioxide (CO2) reaches 550 parts per million (ppm) by 2100 in the second CO2 reaches 800 ppm by 2100. Both scenarios are grim reminders of why we must reduce C02.
The visualizations show the temperature changes as a 30-year running average. The date seen in the bottom-right corner is the mid-point of the 30-year average being shown.
Current concentrations stand at 400 parts per million, and are rising faster than at any time in Earth’s history. If we continue with business as usual we very well could end up with atmospheric concentrations that are more than double current levels. By the end of this century temperatures could be 8 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than they are today. This would be catastrophic.
If CO2 reaches only 550 parts per million by 2100 average warming across the continental US will be 4.5 degrees Fahrenheit. This would still be enough to cause a host of serious problems that make life on earth very difficult.
The visualizations, which combine the results from 15 global climate models, present projections of temperature changes from 2000 to 2100 compared to the historical average from 1970 -1999. They were produced by the Scientific Visualization Studio at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., in collaboration with NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center and the Cooperative Institute for Climate and Satellites, both in Asheville, N.C.
To learn more about the National Climate Assessment, due out in 2014, click here.
To see a NASA Visualization Explorer story on these visualizations, click here.
© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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