A new study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration concludes that impacts from global warming are largely irreversible for the next 1,000 years.
The study finds that even if CO2 emissions were somehow stopped immediately, changes in surface temperature, rainfall, and sea level “are “largely irreversible for more than 1,000 years after CO2 emissions are completely stopped.”
“People have imagined that if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide that the climate would go back to normal in 100 years or 200 years. What we’re showing here is that’s not right. It’s essentially an irreversible change that will last for more than a thousand years.”
Among the changes that can be expected are rising sea levels and decreases in rainfall that last for centuries. Such decreases could lead to decreased human water supplies, increased fire frequency, ecosystem change, and expanded deserts.
For the United States, the report specifically mentions the possibility of droughts in the Southwest that would rival the so-called “Dustbowl” of the 1930s.