Quantcast

Poorer Countries Will See Greater Temperature Swings as Planet Warms

Climate
The Amazon region is one poorer area that could see greater temperature swings this century. Neil Palmer / CIAT / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

The countries that did the least to cause climate change are already projected to absorb the worst of its impacts, from sea level rise to devastating heat waves.


Now, researchers at the universities of Exeter, Wageningen and Montpellier have discovered another "unfair pattern," a University of Exeter press release reported Thursday.

If no effort is made to curb carbon dioxide emissions and global temperatures continue to rise this century, poorer, tropical countries will suffer more temperature swings.

"The countries that have contributed least to climate change, and have the least economic potential to cope with the impacts are facing the largest increases in temperature variability," lead author Dr. Sebastian Bathiany of Wageningen University said in the press release.

The study, published May 2 in ScienceAdvances, found that temperature variability would increase by about 15 percent per degree of warming in Southern Africa and the Amazon region and 10 percent in the Sahel region of Africa, India and Southeast Asia.

The researchers used 37 climate models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to look at changes in the standard deviation of monthly temperature anomalies. They used data going back to 1850, and projected future changes through 2100 based on a worst-case-emissions scenario.

In the Northern Hemisphere, they found that temperature variability decreased in every season except for summer, when it increased. According to the study, the decreases are due to the melting of sea ice in high latitudes and the warming of the Arctic in mid-latitudes, since a warmer Arctic means less of a difference between mid-and-high latitude temperatures.

In tropical latitudes, the researchers found that the increased temperature variability was due in part to a loss of soil moisture.

Concerned about the climate justice implications of their findings, the researchers calculated the changes in temperature variability for individual countries and found that countries with high Gross Domestic Products (GDP) saw variability decrease while countries with low GDP saw variability increase.

"The countries affected by this dual challenge of poverty and increasing temperature variability already share half of the world's population, and population growth rates are particularly large in these countries," study co-author and University of Exeter Prof. Tim Lenton said in the press release.

"These increases are bad news for tropical societies and ecosystems that are not adapted to fluctuations outside of the typical range," he said.

The study's discussion section pointed out that other research has associated temperature variability with lower agricultural production, reduced economic growth and even increased conflict and political instability.

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pexels

By Franziska Spritzler, RD, CDE

Eating healthy can help you lose weight and have more energy.

Read More Show Less
arinahabich / Stock / Getty Images

By Sydney Swanson

With April hopping along and Easter just around the corner, it's time for dyeing eggs (and inadvertently, dyeing hands.) It's easy to grab an egg-dyeing kit at the local supermarket or drug store, but those dye ingredients are not pretty.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Aerial of farmland and mountains near Seaward Kaikoura Range in New Zealand. David Wall Photo / Lonely Planet Images / Getty Images Plus

By Jordan Davidson

New Zealand's pristine image as a haven of untouched forests and landscapes was tarnished this week by a brand new government report. The Environment Aotearoa 2019 painted a bleak image of the island nation's environment and its future prospects.

Read More Show Less
heshphoto / Image Source / Getty Images

By Jessica Corbett

Eating even "moderate" amounts of red and processed meat increases the risk of colon cancer, according to a new study of nearly half a million adults in the United Kingdom.

Read More Show Less
The view from the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, Michigan. Ken Lund / CC BY-SA 2.0

By Sierra Searcy

This week, progressive Democrats and youth advocates are launching a nationwide tour to win support for the Green New Deal. Though popular, the ambitious plan to tackle climate change has struggled to earn the endorsement of centrist Democrats in Rust Belt states like Michigan, the second stop on the tour.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Mike Taube / Getty Images

If you are looking for something to do this Easter weekend, why not visit your nearest national park? All sites run by the National Park Service (NPS) will be free Saturday, April 20 as this year's National Park Week kicks off, USA Today reported.

Read More Show Less
A new EPA rule on asbestos does not say anything about the asbestos currently in the environment. Bob Allen / Getty Images

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) passed a new rule on asbestos Wednesday that it says will "close the door" on new, unapproved uses. But public health advocates warn the rule could actually open the door to increased use of the carcinogenic fibrous material.

Read More Show Less
A mountain woodland caribou bull in the Muskwa-Kechika Wilderness area in northern British Columbia, Canada. John E Marriott / All Canada Photos / Getty Images

It's heartening, in the midst of the human-caused sixth mass extinction, to find good wildlife recovery news. As plant and animal species disappear faster than they have for millions of years, Russia's Siberian, or Amur, tigers are making a comeback. After falling to a low of just a few dozen in the mid-20th century, the tigers now number around 500, with close to 100 cubs — thanks to conservation measures that include habitat restoration and an illegal hunting crackdown.

Read More Show Less