2070, Sri Lanka to Sahara

Human civilisation emerged in a climate niche that made temperatures comfortable. If our carbon emissions increases in the same ‘business as usual’ scenario (RCP 8.5 climate change scenario) over 1 Billion people will find that they are living outside this comfortable zone in a high heat zone that will be like the Sahara desert.

Header picture: An Indian farmer walks across the bed of a pond that has dried out during a water crisis. Photograph: Sanjay Kanojia/AFP via Getty Images

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As this image shows, this includes a large chunk of Sri Lanka too.

Image A shows current suitability, how it shifts by 2070 and the shift. Sri Lanka does a maximum shift from suitability to unsuitability (aside from central mountains).

Image B shows the Mean Average Temperature projection for 2070 – most of Sri Lanka is above 29C. For reference this is what is present in less than 1% of the world – the Sahara.

If someone still thinks that climate change is someone else’s problem, and we should stick to garbage like “but we have such low per capita emissions”, well think again. This is 50 years from now.

This shift will completely destroy our natural heritage and ecological treasure trove we call Sri Lanka. Very few of the diverse species in the country will survive.

Sources:

https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/04/28/1910114117?fbclid=IwAR2F14TcRhobVPZfWr3SD2zWog5aguYQLIf3ZakGJSZS_l9GHlisoWaz_4g

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/05/one-billion-people-will-live-in-insufferable-heat-within-50-years-study?fbclid=IwAR0vDPV_f5g-TzxAKow06SHq7fp7aZnNY4hMGZwp3XNjt49H8XwnGuZYcuE