A New Era of Climate Change by 2047?

A study published in Nature predicts that by 2047, mean temperatures will continuously fall outside the bounds of historical variability. The natural cycle of temperature fluctuation has resulted in a general trend of warming, but each year is not necessarily warmer than the year before. By 2047, this may change, and temperatures will consistently increase each year. Camilo Mora, one of the study’s authors, predicts that “the coldest year in the future will be warmer than the hottest year of the past.”

The study also estimated when temperatures will rise above the historic range of temperatures recorded from 1860 to 2005 in different geographic locations. Tropical climates currently have the least temperature variability and will be the first to enter this new era, likely by 2020. As the study authors point out, climate change will become an environmental justice issue, where the first countries to be impacted by “unprecedented climates are those with the least economic capacity to respond. Ironically, these are countries that are least responsible for climate change in the first place.”

Washington, D.C. has until 2047, while Anchorage, Alaska has a little longer, until 2071.

As the study’s authors point out, these dates will move farther into the future if world governments decide to take steps to reduce emissions, which could push back the shift by as many as 20 years.

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