Oct 12, 2021 – The effects of climate change spanning the globe and have reached an overwhelming majority of the people on earth in the form of coastal floods, forest fires, and other climate-related events, new evidence suggests.
Using a special computer program to analyze the vast amount of data on climate change, researchers report that around 85% of people felt its effects, according to results published Monday in Nature Climate Change.
To arrive at this conclusion, scientists fed published summaries of more than 100,000 studies on climate change into a computer trained to identify key pieces of information. The computer organized this information into a global grid of data on local changes in temperature and precipitation associated with human activities.
The maps show where these shifts in precipitation and temperature – both measures of climate change – were likely linked to climate-related impacts such as drought, floods, fires, and even human health.
The results suggest that 80% of the Earth’s land area, excluding Antarctica, is experiencing climate change – at least in part – due to human activity. Almost all temperature shifts are in the direction of warming, although the precipitation changes are mixed, with increases in some areas and decreases in others.
Compared to low-income countries, high-income countries had roughly twice as much solid evidence of the human factor in climate change, the researchers found. One possible explanation for why the roughly 20% of landmass where human-induced impacts appeared to be weaker – such as in West Africa and some parts of Asia – is that those areas have been less studied by scientists, according to the authors of the Called study.