Intervention in climate change possible

Long-term progress:
All scenarios indicate a probable increase in temperature and precipitation, but the differences between scenarios are high.
Short-term progress:
All scenarios indicate a probable increase in temperature and precipitation in the next twenty years.
Progress in relation to targets:
Only scenario RCP2.6 would enable us to remain close to our target. At the moment, it seems unlikely that this scenario will be realised.

Change in average temperature in Finland according to different scenarios

Change in average temperature in Finland according to different scenarios

Change in annual precipitation in Finland according to different scenarios

Change in annual precipitation in Finland according to different scenarios
Change in annual mean temperature and precipitation in Finland in 2000–2085 in comparison with the average for the period 1971–2000. The graphs show the arithmetical mean of the results of 28 global climate change models for three different RCP greenhouse gas scenarios. Source: Finnish Meteorological Institute. 2013.

Warming in Finland will be above the global average

Two degrees is regarded as the critical limit for the increase in the global mean temperature. Remaining below that limit may keep the effects on nature, food production and the water supply at tolerable levels.

According to current climate models, the two-degree target will only be met if the most optimistic RCP2.6 scenario for emission reductions is realised. In this scenario, international environmental policy and technological development succeed in inducing a sharp decline in global greenhouse gas emissions soon after 2020.

The average temperature in Finland will increase by more than two degrees even in this optimistic RCP2.6 scenario. Moreover, warming will probably be more intense in winter than in summer. If greenhouse gas emissions only begin to take a downturn around 2040, in accordance with the RCP4.5 scenario, January temperatures in Finland will rise by an average of 5 degrees and precipitation by over 20%.

Sources:

  • Finnish Meteorological Institute. 2013.
  • Communication from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions. Limiting global climate change to 2 degrees Celsius - The way ahead for 2020 and beyond. COM/2007/0002 final.
  • van Vuuren, D.P., et al: RCP2.6: exploring the possibility to keep global mean temperature increase below 2°C. Climatic Change 109. 2011.

Scenarios are alternative images of the future

Possible greenhouse gas concentration scenarios (Representative Concentration Pathways, RCP) are used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In addition to greenhouse gas emission trends, they take account of issues such as land use.

  • RCP2.6: Jackpot for climate policy. CO2 emissions take a sharp downturn after 2020 and are close to zero by the end of the century. CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere peak around 2050, at circa 440 ppm, and begin to decline thereafter.
  • RCP4.5: Partial success for climate policy. CO2 emissions increase slightly at first, but begin to decline around 2040. By the end of the century, CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere stabilise at a level approximately double that prior to industrialisation.
  • RCP8.5: Complete failure of climate policy. CO2 emissions increase rapidly. By 2100, they have tripled compared to the levels for the year 2000. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations rise to levels almost triple those prior to industrialisation and continue rising after 2100.

Sources:

  • Finnish Meteorological Institute. 2013.
  • van Vuuren, D.P., et al: The representative concentration pathways: an overview. Climatic Change 109 (1–2): 5–31. 2011.

 

Published 2015-11-27 at 13:13, updated 2015-11-27 at 13:12