The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change Page: 24
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The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change
Major Catastrophic Effects
Between 2000 and 2005, more literature has been published on the major impacts of climate change in
relation to temperature rise. A literature review of major catastrophic effects was conducted as part of
the International Symposium on Stabilisation of Greenhouse Gases, 2005. The table below
summarises the predicted effect on the Earth's systems of various temperature increases above pre-
Table 9. Major catastrophic effects of climate change on the Earth's Systems (Stabilisation 2005)
Temp rise CO2 Impacts to the earth system Region affected Source
above pre- conc"
1.5 Onset of complete melting of Greenland Ice: All coastal Gregory 2004
when complete 7m additional sea level rise regions, many
2-3? ~CO2 Collapse of Amazon rainforest. Replaced by S America, globe Cox et al 2000,
doubling Savannah: huge consequences for biodiversity Betts 2005
and human livelihoods
2-3? ~550ppm Conversion of terrestrial carbon sink to carbon Global Cox et al 2000,
source due to temperature enhanced soil and Cox 2005, ECF
plant respiration overcoming CO2 enhanced 2004
photosynthesis. Desertification of many
Any Release of C to atmosphere due to Global Neilsen 1993
deterioration of ecosystems at rapid rates of
Double Net primary production increases by 10% Globe Betts 2005
Double Runoff increases by 12% Globe Betts 2005
Base case 2100 Collapse of thermohaline circulation: Globe: cooling Schlesinger 2005
(to be maximum likelihood of shutdown of 4 in 10 NW Europe,
clarified) for climate sensitivity 3C (climate sensitivity warming Alaska
could lie between 1.5- 11 C) & Antarctic,
lower rainfall in
1-3 Collapse of thermohaline circulation affecting Northern and Ramsdorf in
fisheries, ecosystems, agriculture (expert Western Europe ECF 2004
opinion: probability 'a few percent')
2-4.5 Potential to trigger melting of the West Globe ECF 2004
Antarctic Ice Sheet raising sea levels by a
further 5-6m i.e.0.6-1.2m per century
4-5 Expert opinion: probability of thermohaline Northern and Ramsdorf in
shutdown up to 50% or above. Western Europe ECF 2004
THC collapse, Greenland Ice Sheet melt and Discussed at
West Antarctic Ice Sheets may interact in Symposium
ways that we have not begun to understand
Potential release of methane from melting Globe: feedback IPCC 2001
tundra and clathrates from shallow seas accelerated
By 2100 acidification of the oceans pH falls World oceans IPCC 2001;
by 0.4 and may disrupt ecosystem functioning Blackford 2005
By 2250 acidification pH falls by 0.77 World oceans IPCC 2001;
Increased variability in summer monsoons Asia, Australia IPCC 2001,
exacerbating flood/drought damage Steffen 2005, Lal
16 x CO2 Permanent El Nino Globe Navarra 2005
Source: Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change, International symposium on stabilisation of greenhouse gases, 1-3 Feb 2005, Met Office UK
AEA Technology Environment, August 2005
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Watkiss, Paul; Downing, Tom; Handley, Claire & Butterfield, Ruth. The Impacts and Costs of Climate Change, text, September 2005; Oxford, England. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc29337/m1/35/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .