Interactive Google Earth map shows us a 4º Hotter World

16 July 2010

Google Map

Google Earth has unveiled a projection of how the world will look if Climate Change makes it 4º hotter. You will need to download the Google Earth application if you do not already have it on your computer.  UK government-sponsored map shows what might happen, using an enjoyable interactive globe. It's not a pretty sight.“This map reinforces our determination to act against dangerous man-made climate change.‪‪ We know the stakes are high and that’s why we want to help secure an ambitious global climate change deal,” says  Energy and Climate Change Minister, Greg Barker.  In a parallel development, Climate Change minister Chris Huhne has agreed with his French and German counterparts to push to increase the EU climate change emissions targets by 10% so instead of a reduction of 20% by 2020 the new target would be 30%. Chris Huhne said, "This shows how seriously Britain, France and Germany take the low carbon agenda and how we want to work together to make it happen.We’re determined to make the economic case for the EU to cut its emissions by 30% by 2020 as quickly as possible. Moving to a low carbon economy can help deliver energy security and contribute to economic recovery.

“The current 20% target is not sufficient to encourage companies to make the necessary investment in green technologies and green jobs. The ‘wait and see’ policy of sticking to 20% risks putting Europe in the global slow lane of maximising low carbon economic opportunities.”

Forest fires

The Google Map warns of fire risk to forests around the globe, including Southern Europe.  As Carbon Managers is part of the worldwide environmental initiative to replant and reforest trees wherever possible, it is worrying that the good work may be threatened by increased risk of forest fires.  The scientists involved in the stress that this is the "possible impacts" of "plausible future scenarios" that according to their computer models are consistent with the science as it stands today.

Professor Robert Nicholls of Southampton University explains the impact of Sea Level Rise on coastal areas and island nations. The effects include increased flooding, increased coastal erosion, salination of waters and deterioration of coastal ecosystems. His research has revealed, by going back to old tide gauges records and using them to document the effects on the British coastline, that the sea level around Southampton has been going up by 1 millimetre a year for some time - this might not seem much but it is cumulative.

Map of temperature effects

Map of temperature effects across the globe at an average 4 degrees Celsius - source IPCC

This is an interesting tool for looking at possible impacts of disturbing our climate. It is however an example of non-joined up government: as it was a Foreign and Commonwealth Office production, the effect on Britain is only covered in passing.  It is encouraging that the new government is aware of the problems and pushing for improvement in the UK's response to this critical area.  You will need to download the Google Earth Application to use this map if you have not already got it.


Climate Change Google Earth Map

Blog by Julian Jackson

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