By 2100, summer could last six months

By 2100, summer could last six months

By 2100

According to a Chinese study just published, if we do not reverse the course with climate change by the end of the century, summer will last 6 months, while winter only a couple of months. With huge impacts on the environment, agriculture and our health

(photo: Pixabay) If we fail to curb climate change, by 2100 winter will last less than two months while summers will last even longer. worryingly, they will last up to six months, bringing with them heat waves, fires, increasingly frequent storms and greater risks to our health. This was told by some researchers, coordinated by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who estimated how long the seasons will last in the coming years, demonstrating how in the mid-latitudes of the northern hemisphere the summer will get longer and longer, spring and autumn will be shorter and , in fact, winter will progressively shorten. And the culprit, once again, will be global warming. The study has just been published in the pages of the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Our summers are already about 20% longer than in the past: reaching to last for six months they would last about double those of the 1950s, that is until the four seasons have followed a predictable pattern and rather uniform. Compared to the past, the summers of the next few years will also be more extreme, with increasingly frequent heat waves and fires. To reach this conclusion, the researchers analyzed the daily climate data available in the literature to measure how much seasons have already changed (when they start and how long they last) and observed that on average the Northern Hemisphere summer went from 78 to 95 days between 1952 and 2011, while the winter shrank from 76 to 73 days. Spring and autumn were also shorter, from 124 to 115 days and 87 to 82 days, respectively.

Then using climate change models to predict how the four seasons will change in the future (if we fail to mitigate global warming), the team managed to show that the biggest changes are yet to come: their calculations, in fact, showed that by 2100 summer could last an average of 166 days, reducing the time of all other seasons and especially that of winter, which could be as long as 31 days. "Summers are getting longer and warmer while winters are getting shorter and less cold due to global warming," said Yuping Guan, author of the study.

(Credit: Wang et al 2020 / Geophysical Research Letters / AGU) To undergo the greatest changes in seasonal cycles, the researchers point out, were the regions of the Mediterranean and the Tibetan plateau. But the enormous impacts will be observed everywhere in the world and will affect every aspect of the biosphere, from the environment to agriculture and human health. "Numerous studies have already shown that the changing seasons cause significant risks to the environment and health," adds Guan. For example, birds are already changing the periods of their migrations and plants sprout and bloom at different times, leading to discrepancies between animals and their food sources and disrupting ecosystems. Furthermore, seasonal changes can devastate agriculture, especially due to "false" springs or late snowstorms.

And with longer and longer seasons, we too will be affected: an increase in allergies will be observed and infectious diseases, as tropical virus-carrying mosquitoes will be able to spread to the northern regions. Finally, there will also be increasingly extreme weather events. "A warmer and longer summer will lead to more frequent and intense heat waves and fires, while warmer, shorter winters can cause instability leading to cold spells and snowstorms," ​​commented Congwen Zhu, researcher. press the Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, which was not involved in the study. "This study is a good starting point for understanding the implications of seasonal changes," said Scott Sheridan, a climate expert at Kent State University. "I think realizing these potentially dramatic changes over the seasons will likely have a much greater impact on how climate change is perceived in general."

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