New map data depict regional climate change after a rise in global temperature of 1.5 degrees

Since the Paris meeting in 2015, researchers have been investigating the effects of a rise in global temperature of 1.5 degrees. Now, the Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute (SMHI) can present unique data which depict regional climate change after a rise in global temperature of 1.5 degrees.

Gustav Strandberg
Gustav Strandberg, climate researcher at SMHI Rossby Centre.

”The climate models show that the extent of global warming will probably reach 1.5 degrees in 10 to 20 years’ time if the current rapid pace of climate change continues. Global warming is not evenly distributed around the Earth. Land areas warm up faster than sea areas and the Arctic region is the place with the fastest rate of warming,” says Gustav Strandberg, climate researcher at SMHI Rossby Centre.

The climate researchers at SMHI Rossby Centre have used up to ten climate models for their analysis.

”Using so many climate models has given us material that is unique in the world. The models give a clear and consistent picture. The greater the number of models that show the same result, the more likely it is they represent how developments will actually be,” says Gustav Strandberg.

Interesting regional differences

Because an increase in temperature of 1.5 degrees is an average global value, it is of interest to study the extent of warming in different regions. The SMHI website has an online service with scenario maps that depict conditions after an increase in global temperature of 1.5 degrees for the world as a whole, for Sweden, Europe, South America, south-western Asia and Africa, compared with the preindustrial period.

The service is based on the RCP8.5 climate scenario which implies continued high emissions of carbon dioxide.

”The long-term extent of climate change will depend on how the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere develop over time, at what point in time the emissions culminate, the level at which that happens, and how rapidly levels decrease after that point,” says Lena Lindström, product owner of climate, SMHI.

Explore the maps with future scenarios

It is possible to use the online service to study future scenarios for several different parameters, for example, temperature and precipitation. The service is open and freely accessible via SMHI's web site for anyone who is interested in climate issues and the impacts of climate change. The simulations are made within the context of the CORDEX network on coordinated regional downscaling of climate scenarios. 

There was consensus among the countries of the world regarding a climate agreement after the large climate meeting in Paris in 2015. The target stated in the agreement is that the rise in global temperature must be kept well under two degrees and, preferably, should not go beyond 1.5 degrees. An increase in temperature of more than two degrees is regarded as implying excessive costs and consequences for society and the environment.

To a large extent, the rapid climate change that is taking place in the world is being caused by human activities. SMHI produces knowledge about how climate has changed historically, its present state, and how it may be in the future.