Be Horrified At All The Ways Climate Change Will Destroy Us, Kindly Collected In One Map (Fast Co/Exist)

Ben Schiller

August 1, 2014 | 8:14 AM

Climate change not only means warmer temperatures. It means a tremendous churning of natural processes that human beings rely upon.

Climate change is likely to have a range of complicated impacts affecting all kinds of human activity–from new water patterns that produce more flooding, to lower crop yields that exacerbate hunger in poor places.

The maps here trace the complicated “human dynamics of climate change.” They were developed by the U.K. Met Office (the official British weather forecast service), together with the U.K. Foreign Office and several universities.

They start with a “present-day” picture map, which shows trade in various commodities (wheat, maize, etc), important areas for fishing, routes for shipping and air freight, and regions with high degrees of water stress and political fragility.

Then the maps get into specific issues, based on “business as usual” climate forecasts for 2100, i.e. what will happen if society does nothing to stop global warming from its current track. You can see, for example, how higher temperatures could increase demand for irrigation water; how parts of the world could see increases and decreases in water run-off into rivers; how different areas (like 70% of Asia) are set for more flooding; and how the warmest days in Europe, parts of Asia, and North America are projected to be 6°C warmer.

The poster also has summaries for each region of the world. North Africa, for instance, “is projected to see some of the largest increases in the number of drought days and decreases in average annual water run-off.” North America, meanwhile, is forecast to see an increase in the number of drought days, increasing temperatures on its warmest days, and, depending on the region, both increases and decreases in river flooding.

The overall impression is one of flux. Climate change not only means warmer temperatures. It means a tremendous churning of natural processes that human beings rely on.

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Human dynamics of climate change (UK MetOffice)

Human dynamics of climate change

The impacts of climate change will not be experienced in isolation, but will affect humans in the context of the way we live

The ‘Human dynamics of climate change’ map aims to illustrate some of the impacts of climate and population change in the context of a globalised world. You can download the map and the supplementary information below:

HDCC map HDCC map (PDF, 12 MB)

HDCC map supplementary information HDCC map supplementary information (PDF, 629 kB)

There are two types of information included in the map – present-day human dynamics, and projected future changes in climate and population between a present day  baseline (1981-2010) and the end of the 21st century (2071-2100).

The climate projections shown do not include any assumptions about adaptation or adaptive capacity. They represent the potential long-term influence of climate change on human activity, and may be thought of as a driver of change. This map shows a ‘business as usual’ greenhouse gas concentration scenario ( RCP8.5) that contains no explicit greenhouse gas emissions mitigation, with a ‘middle of the road’ socio-economic scenario ( SSP2) for population change.

To illustrate how the information on the map can be interpreted, an overview of the global picture is included in the supplementary information, and a number of regional case studies are explored on the map itself; these are also included in the link below. However, the different impacts (both positive and negative), and the different contexts in which these impacts occur, interact in multiple, complex ways. We invite you to explore the information and discover the links that mean the most to you.

Questions and answers related to the map are available here: HDCC map Q & A HDCC map Q & A (PDF, 70 kB)

Alternative version of the map

An alternative version of the map is available here: HDCC alternative map HDCC alternative map (PDF, 8 MB) , and a similar version under an ‘aggressive mitigation’ greenhouse gas concentration scenario (RCP2.6) is also available for comparison here: HDCC alternative map mitigation HDCC alternative map mitigation (PDF, 7 MB)

The following document details  the differences between these two versions and the version at the top of the page: HDDC map alternative version information HDDC map alternative version information (PDF, 35 kB)

For more detail on the present-day and future change information used to produce the ‘Human dynamics of climate change’ map, follow the links below.