The commitment enshrined in the Paris climate agreement to “pursue efforts” to limit global warming to 1.5C above preindustrial levels surprised many people, not least climate scientists.
As part of the outcomes from Paris, the UN’s official climate science body – the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – was asked to produce a Special Report on 1.5C by 2018. But how much can scientists say about the impacts of 1.5C warming? How do the impacts compare to those at 2C? And given that limiting to 1.5C would be more difficult, is it worth it?
These questions pose quite a challenge. Until recently, there was very little research explicitly comparing impacts at discrete levels of warming. But while most existing model experiments were not designed to simulate 1.5C or 2C worlds, they can go some way to answering these questions. And new experiments are rapidly becoming available.
In a new review paper, published today in WIREs Climate Change, authors look at the tools scientists have available to compare climate signals at different warming levels, where the field is headed next and how much can be done in time for the Special Report on 1.5C.
The following Infographic describes how do compare the impacts of 1.5C of warming to 2C of warming, by Rosamund Pearce for Carbon Brief (link to the full story).