HDCC_map _floods

From flood barriers to fish stocks, a new
super-graphic from the Met Office and the UK Foreign and
Commonwealth Office shows how climate change is likely to alter
human activity.

Looking at where our food comes from and
how countries interact through travel and trade, it makes for a
stark visualisation of what different regions can expect as climate
change kicks in.


Human Dynamics of Climate Change
project is
a huge venture, designed to illustrate the range and complexity of
the potential impacts of unmitigated climate change.

It contains a massive amount of information but a good
place to start is the map below, which shows how humans interact in
today’s world.

The colours, arrows, symbols and shading show
shipping routes, population density, crop importers and exporters,
areas under water stress, busy ports and airports, fishing regions,
tropical cyclone regions and melting glaciers.

Present day human dynamics (1981-2010). Source: Human
Dynamics of Climate Change (
), a joint project from the Met Office and UK Foreign and
Commonwealth Office.

The scientists produced another six separate
maps to show how the latest climate models predict climate change
will play out across the world by the end of the

Each map shows a different type of impact –
changes in water demand, crop yields, flooding, sea surface
temperature, population and drought. But they should be looked at
together to get idea of the full range of impacts expected in a
given region, the scientists say.

For that reason, the project puts
the main map plus all six impact maps on one

It’s a very comprehensive approach, that
risks being a bit overwhelming in terms of the amount of
information to take in. So we’ve pulled out some of the key themes

Rising flood risk

When it comes to the impact on people’s lives,
the project highlights how it’s important to look not only at how
climate change alters temperature and rainfall at a global scale,
but also how the occurrence of weather extremes is expected to
change. Take flooding, for example.

The circular red house symbols shows the
expected increase in the risk of river flooding by 2100. The darker
the blue background shading, the higher the confidence in the

By 2100, climate change is expected to increase
the occurrence of flooding across large parts of the globe, and by
more than 70 per cent in south, east and southeast Asia.

According to the data, around 70 per cent of Europe looks set to
see lower flood risk (brown shading and green symbols), though
notably this doesn’t include the UK.


Future change in flood frequency (2071-2100).
Source: Human Dynamics of Climate Change (
), a joint project from the Met Office and UK Foreign and
Commonwealth Office

(The set of six maps comes with some
handy data lookup tables
so you can see the
data corresponding to each place and how different model
projections are combined).

The maps show what you might consider the worst
case scenario. They assume no action to curb emissions – the IPCC’s
RCP8.5 scenario – and no adaptation to increase

Food security

Another map shows projected yields of the four main
cereal crops – wheat, maize, rice and soybean – for the largest
producing regions.

HDCC_map _crops

Future change in average crop yields (2071-2100).
Source: Human Dynamics of Climate Change (
), a joint project from the Met Office and UK Foreign and
Commonwealth Office

Projections vary hugely between different crops
and different parts of the world. But the panel in the bottom left
hand corner suggests globally, we can expect an overall increase in
wheat, rice and soybean yields. The only crop that suffers is
maize, according to the data.

This is a somewhat more optimistic picture than the latest
from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) gave. It concluded:

“Based on many studies
covering a wide range of regions and crops, negative impacts of
climate change on crop yields have been more common than positive
impacts … For the major crops (wheat, rice, and maize) in tropical
and temperate regions, climate change without adaptation is
projected to negatively impact production for local temperature
increases of 2°C or more above late-20th-century levels, although
individual locations may benefit”

For reference, the IPCC’s RCP8.5 scenario –
which the Met Office models follow – projects between
2.6 and 4.8 degrees
of warming by 2100, on
top of 1986-2005 levels.

An important reason for the difference is that
the Met Office/FCO projections assume crops have all the water they
need. As another maps shows, this would require an increase in
water demand by about 15 per cent over Europe, and more than 20 per
cent in parts of Asia and North America.

The Met Office says in a
that accompanies the maps:

“[I]n reality, the
increase in the amount if water [crops] will need, combined with
changes in runoff and greater demand for water from a larger
population, may mean that this is not always achieved.”

The Met Office points out that average
projections over the century mask the increase in year-to-year
variability that comes with increases in drought, high temperatures
and flooding.

And when it comes to food security, whether
countries can produce their staple crops from one year to the next
is more important than what’s happening on a global scale, say the

An alternative route

The scientists produced two more maps as part of
the project. One combines all the impacts for the
high emissions scenario (RCP8.5). The other shows
the same but under an aggressive mitigation scenario that
keeps warming below two degrees above pre-industrial levels

Click on the image below to compare the left map (high
emissions) and right map (low emissions). See how the size of the
symbols changes between them. You can see both maps in their full

HDCC_alternative _both

Future climate change impacts (2071-2100) for the
IPCC’s high emissions scenario (RCP8.5) and aggressive mitigation
scenario (RCP2.6). Source: Human Dynamics of Climate Change (

This is a just snapshot of what you can find on
Met Office pages
. You can find the
full super-graphic
, with explanations of
where the data comes from

The project aims to show just how complicated,
far reaching and interacting climate change’s impacts will be on
the world as we know it. And although the infographic is probably
the busiest and hardest-to-absorb we’ve seen in a while, it
certainly gets that particular message across.

Via: http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2014/07/new-mega-map-details-all-the-ways-climate-change-will-affect-our-everyday-lives/