And herein lies the rub – greenhouse gas levels will not suddenly stabilize.
Groundbreaking climate change agreements have been ratified, and renewable energy is on the rise from hydropowered Costa Rica to volcanically powered Indonesia. The world is beginning to try and reduce its carbon footprint, but even if every single signatory signed the Paris agreement, we may breach the 2°C (3.6°F) warming limit by 2030. Emissions will keep climbing for the foreseeable future.
Snyder worryingly estimates that, based on her detailed paleoclimate records, a doubling of the pre-Industrial levels of carbon dioxide – from 280 to 560 parts per million (ppm) – could ultimately ramp up temperatures by a whopping 9°C (16.2°F).
This disturbing value is at the high end of other study’s calculations, and some climatologists are a little skeptical of it. “I regard the study as provocative and interesting, but the quantitative findings must be viewed rather skeptically until the analysis has been thoroughly vetted by the scientific community,” Michael Mann, a paleoclimate expert at Penn State, told Climate Central.
If Snyder is correct, though, we are dangerously close to tipping over the precipice. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the global monthly average for atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations is 401.7 ppm.
At this rate, experts think we’ll breach 560 ppm by 2100. A pandemonium of climate change disasters await.
Wildfires are becoming more potent and widespread thanks to climate change. macknimal/Shutterstock