Peter du Toit

Dec 312 min read

What is the big deal with a 1°C temperature increase anyway?

Where we are today the forecast temperatures are max. 23 and min. 16. That’s a a 7° difference. We deal with these all the time and it’s no big deal. In winter the swings can be even more extreme.

So what’s the big deal with a 1° variation?

Well not all temperature fluctuations are equal.

Take the human body for example. The body’s normal temperature is between 36.1°C and 37.2°C. If your temperature goes up by 0.8°C ie you are at 38°C you are considered to have a fever likely caused by an infection. Every 0.5°C after that becomes more and more dangerous and would require seeking medical attention.

The global temperature must be seen in the same light as that of the human body. Small increases can go from normal to life threatening.

The latest science says we are currently on a trajectory to increase global temperatures by 3.2°C

The consequences of this will be CATASTROPHIC.

This research paper gives an idea of what each degree in temperature rise means to our lived experience.

Here is a summary:

In general, each °C of global temperature increase can be expected to produce:

  • 5-10% changes in precipitation across many regions
  • 3-10% increases in the amount of rain falling during the heaviest precipitation events
  • 5-10% changes in streamflow across many river basins
  • 15% decreases in the annually averaged extent of sea ice across the Arctic Ocean, with 25% decreases in the yearly minimum extent in September
  • 5-15% reductions in the yields of crops as currently grown
  • 200-400% increases in the area burned by wildfire in parts of the western United States

As mentioned our current trajectory is three times the values above!

We have a very small window, 10 years or less, to prevent this from happening.

What every single government, business and individual must be 100% focused on starting immediately is to knock out the biggest causes of current CO2 emissions.

So to be clear:

🌍Become Climate Conscious
👩🏻‍🎓Become Carbon Literate
🗳️Vote for change
🌱Switch to plant-based diets
🚘Drive less or not at all (switch to EV if you can)
☀️Switch to renewable energy
✈️Fly less or not at all (the worst transport choice)

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