BARRING BELOW 1.5C WARMING, SPAIN MAY BE ONE BIG DESERT IN 2100

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28 october 2016

Why Spain could be a desert by 2100, say climate researchers

Spain a desert? A new study offers a glimpse at Spain's future under four different carbon emissions scenarios. Researchers found that Mediterranean vegetation could change dramatically as the climate warms.

By Ellen Powell, Christian Science Monitor Staff, October 29, 2016

What will the Mediterranean look like by the end of the century? It all depends on carbon emissions, a new study finds.

Using pollen records from the last 10,000 years, the researchers were able to assess the impact that temperature changes have historically had on plant life in the region. They then projected the forecast temperature rises forward, producing computer models of four different emissions scenarios.

They found that, unless global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels, Mediterranean ecosystems will change more than they have any time during the past 10,000 years. Deserts will expand and deciduous trees will start to disappear, with implications for political stability, too. For the researchers, it’s a call to action.

“The main message is really to maintain at less than 1.5C,” Joel Guiot, a researcher at Aix-Marseille University in France, told the Guardian. “For that, we need to decrease the emissions of greenhouse gases very quickly, and start the decreasing now, and not by 2020, and to arrive at zero emissions by 2050 and not by the end of the century.”

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