Warming may turn quarter of Earth arid

Threat could be curbed if temperature is limited to 1.5 degrees

Over a quarter of the world’s land could become significantly drier even if global warming is limited to the target of two degree Celsius, according to scientists including one of Indian origin.

The change would cause an increased threat of drought and wildfires.

However, limiting global warming to under 1.5 degree Celsius would dramatically reduce the fraction of the Earth’s surface that undergoes such changes.

Researchers from University of East Anglia (UEA) in the U.K. and Southern University of Science and Technology (SUSTech) in China studied projections from 27 global climate models.

They identified the areas of the world where aridity will substantially change when compared to the year-to-year variations they experience now, as global warming reaches 1.5 or two degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Aridity is a measure of the dryness of the land surface, obtained from combining precipitation and evaporation.

Aridification is a serious threat because it can critically impact areas such as agriculture, water quality, and biodiversity. It can also lead to more droughts and wildfires.

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