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Last update: May 2021

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Climate Change Explorer, an interactive map to understand the future global climate

Copie d’écran de la carte affichée à l’ouverture de l’application : les modélisations utilisées par le GIEC projettent que, en 2100, le climat de Paris ressemblera à celui de Chios en Grèce de 1970 à 2000
It can be difficult to imagine the impact of climate change on our lives and in particular on local cultivated vegetation. Based on the results of the climate models used by the IPCC for its reports, we propose a visualization of the expected evolutions of local climates according to global greenhouse gas emission scenarios. These evolutions are compared to the climates found in the world between 1970 and 2000 to identify current climate analogues to future climates: in order to represent the future climate of a considered place, we look for places on the planet whose current climate is similar to this projected climate.

Imagining the local impact of climate change can be difficult for the general public as well as for farmers or agronomists. However, such representations are important for raising awareness and limiting greenhouse gas emissions at the source, but also to facilitate adaptation to this warming that is already partly inevitable. In agronomy in particular, cropping systems may have to evolve significantly with climate conditions. The results of the climate models used by the IPCC experts are available free of charge, but there is no easy way to visualise these results and their possible divergences. Above all, it is difficult to understand the extent of the changes expected from the variations in average temperatures or rainfall forecast over several years.

We have developed an internet application that allows in a single click to visualise past and future climate changes for any point on the globe based on the official results of the climate models used for the IPCC reports. These cartographic and graphic representations make it possible, in particular, to visualise local changes in 20-year time steps according to the greenhouse gas emission scenario considered. Pre-warming climate analogues (1970-2000) to the predicted climate are shown to facilitate the understanding of the impact of changes in average temperature or precipitation. For example, the Paris climate is already in2020 equivalent to the Bordeaux climate of the 1970-2000 period and should become comparable to the Toulouse climate as early as 2050, whatever the greenhouse gas emission scenario. Still for Paris, the forecasts then diverge to reach in 2100 a climate close to that of the southern Mediterranean for the highest emission scenario.

This application provides a first approach to the local magnitude of climate change dependind on the greenhouse gas emission scenarios. The climate analogues could be used to identify crops and cultivars adapted to the new climates in regions where they are currently present. However, it would be necessary to refine the climate analogues by specifically considering the growing seasons of the crops under consideration. These climatic analogues might also take into account the varying day length with the seasons, which will not change with climate change. Moreover, on a global scale, many places (e.g. the east coast of the Indian peninsula) will evolve towards climates that have never been known before, even if only in terms of temperature and annual precipitation, and this raises the question of the possibilities for living organisms to adapt to these new climates. This work will be used to rethink the possible crops, together with their bio-aggressors and cropping systems, permitted by the future climate.

Valuation: This internet application is available on the website and has been visited more than 1000 times during the year.

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