Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Ghosts of Climate Past, Present, and Future

I had the opportunity of contributing a few illustrations to a three-part post on Skeptical Science. The post plays off of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carole and portrays an unnamed US politician being visited by the ghosts of climate past, present, and future.

This story shows a future under a plausible scenario in which humanity's greenhouse gas emissions continue the current trend resulting in a scenario labeled RCP 8.5, meaning the additional greenhouse gases increase the energy in the climate system by 8.5 watts per meter compared to pre-industrial conditions.

This figure is from a recent paper in Nature Climate Change by Fuss et al. the black line shows our historical emissions up to 2015. All lines after 2015 are hypothetical scenarios. Note that so far, we follow the red line leading to 8.5 watts per meter or global average temperature increases of 2.3 - 5.4 degrees Celsius.

From Betting on Negative Emissions, Nature Climate Change 4, 850–853 (2014)

As of today, 24 December 2015, Parts 1 and 2 of the series are released:

Ghost of Climate Past
Ghost of Climate Present
Ghost of Climate Future (to be released in the future)

My etchings:

Ghost of Climate Past accosts an unnamed United States politician

Ghost of Climate Present whisks our protagonist away to a collapsing Antarctic ice shelf


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