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A 2°C Increase In World Temperature Would Severely Increase Droughts And Wildfires, New Study Says

Desertification.Max Pixel/Max Pixel

In recent years, the world bore witness to the intense heat that the planet is under, with record-breaking droughts and wildfires afflicting developing and developed countries alike. According to a new study, an increase in the world’s temperature by 2°C would significantly increase the number and intensity of these events, compared to a 1.5°C.

The new study was conducted by University of East Anglia researchers, which indicates that more than a quarter of the planet would see an increase in dryness if the world’s temperature goes up by 2°C. The researchers published their paper in Nature magazine, arguing that keeping the increase to 1.5°C would significantly slow down this process.

“On the basis of the ensemble median ToEA [time of emergence for aridification] for each grid cell, aridification emerges over 32% (RCP4.5) and 24% (RCP8.5) of the total land surface before the ensemble median of global mean temperature change reaches 2 °C in each scenario. Moreover, ToEA is avoided in about two-thirds of the above regions if the maximum global warming level is limited to 1.5 °C,” the paper reads.

Aridity is basically how scientists measure the dryness of regions, which can have a significant effect on habitability, the ecosystem, and agriculture, among other things. As one of the authors of the study, Dr. Chang-Eui Park notes, an increase in aridity could have a devastating impact on food, water, and shelter, Phys.org reports.

"Aridification is a serious threat because it can critically impact areas such as agriculture, water quality, and biodiversity. It can also lead to more droughts and wildfires - similar to those seen raging across California,” Dr. Park said.

While it’s true that reducing the temperature increase would benefit some countries more than others, this is still a global threat. This especially concerning for countries that import most of their food and goods.

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