Summer in the northern hemisphere could last nearly six months by 2100 if global warming continues unchecked, according to a recent study that examined how climate change affects the pattern and duration of Earth’s seasons.
The study was published last month in a newspaper Journal of Geophysical Research Letters, Found that climate change is making summers hotter and longer, while shrinking the other three seasons. Scientists say irregularities could have a host of dangerous repercussions, affecting human health and agriculture and the environment.
“This is the biological clock of every living being,” said the study’s lead author, Yuping Guan, a physical oceanographer at the Principal Laboratory of Tropical Oceanography at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. “People are arguing about a temperature rise of two or three degrees, but the changing seasons due to global warming is something everyone can understand.”
Guan and colleagues combed daily climate data from 1952 to 2011 to determine the start and end of each season in the Northern Hemisphere. And they found that, over a period of roughly 60 years, average summer periods were 78 to 95 days – a difference of about three months.
The winters were shortened, on average, from 76 to 73 days, and the spring and autumn seasons were similarly shortened. On average, the spring seasons shrank from 124 days to 115 days, and the autumn season shrank from 87 days to 82 days.
The scientists used the results to build a model to predict how the seasons might change in the future. They discovered that if the pace of climate change continued without mitigation, summer in the northern hemisphere could last nearly six months, while winter could extend to less than two months.
In their study, Guan and colleagues measured the onset of summer based on the onset of temperatures in the top 25 percent over that time period. Winter was known as the start of temperatures of the coldest 25 percent, they said.
Previous research has shown that climate change has a profound effect on the planet’s seasons – making summers hotter and longer and winters shorter and warmer – but Guan said he was surprised by the dramatic results of his team’s future predictions.
“We first looked at 2050 and then calculated the change for 2100, and it was a lot,” Joan said. “For the sake of human well-being, I really wish these results were wrong.”
Changes in the seasons of the Earth bear Risks to the environment and human health. A warmer, longer summer means, for example, that mosquitoes and other disease-carrying pests can expand their range and persist in areas where they are not normally found.
Scott Sheridan, a climate scientist at Kent State University, said: “You get to a point where insects like malaria mosquitoes are kept away from high altitude areas because they can’t survive the night, and they will likely live longer and at higher altitudes.” “In Ohio, who did not participate in the study.
And because the seasons dictate the life cycles of plants and animals, climate change can disrupt the ability of species to adapt.
“If the seasons start to change, not everything will completely change simultaneously,” Sheridan said. “If we take the example of flowers emerging from the ground, these flowers can come out but the bees are not there to pollinate yet or have already passed their peak.”
Sheridan said climate change is making the seasons more “variable”, which could have far-reaching impacts on agricultural production. In the United States, for example,False spring“In March 2012, marked by unusually warm weather, it lured vegetation out of dormancy weeks ahead of schedule, before temperatures dipped again in April.
“Everything started on high alert thinking that early summer has arisen,” Sheridan said. “In Michigan, huge amounts of cherries were lost as a result. Similar things happened in the south with the peach crops.”
In fact, scientists long for an accurate understanding of how climate change affects the seasons due to the potential impact on food production.
Weston Anderson, a postdoctoral researcher at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University, studies the impact of climate variability on agriculture and food security. Global warming not only affects where and when certain crops can grow, but it also affects how much they thrive.
“One of the main concerns is how higher temperatures affect the timing of crop development,” said Anderson, who was not involved in the recent study. “This means how quickly crops mature and, as a consequence, how affected crop yields.”
Anderson said that although issues of food production have spillover effects globally, the Mediterranean is one area that appears to be particularly vulnerable to global warming.
“Already in the Mediterranean we are seeing high temperatures and the region is becoming drier and therefore less suitable for growing wheat,” he said, adding that semi-arid places were also at risk.
Sheridan said the results of the study help clarify the severity of climate change by clarifying the interconnectedness of humans, animals, other plants and the environment.
“The changing seasons can do a lot more havoc than you think when you realize all the systems are tuning according to the timing of the seasons,” he said.