Future World

Scientists develop computer Global Climate Models or GCMs based on estimates of future greenhouse gas emissions, climate forcing factors, and the laws of physics. Once they verify a GCM through accurately simulating Earth's climate history, they use the GCM to predict climate in the near future.

Main floor of the Earth Simulator Center in Yokohama, Japan that has 160 computer processor nodes, each containing 8 computer processor units.






Recently Updated
Human population explosion Last Updated on 2014-02-26 17:23:15   Approximately 7.2 billion humans inhabited the Earth in year 2013. By comparison, there might be 500,000 elephants of different kinds, 200,000 chimpanzees, 100,000 gorillas, 20,000 polar bears, 3,000 tigers, 2,000 giant pandas and 200 California condors. Notably, the human population has grown about ten-fold over the past 300 years and nearly four-fold in just the last century. This monumental historical development has profoundly changed the relationship of our species to its natural support systems and has greatly intensified our environmental impact, particularly regarding species extinctions. Equally amazing are the signs that, in our generation, the human population explosion is abating (Figure 1; note that, here and below, many of the values given are estimates and, after the year 2005, projections). Our numbers are expected to rise by another 50%... More »
Temperature rise 'slows economy in poor countries' Last Updated on 2012-08-20 00:00:00 Paula Park reports in SciDev.Net on August 16, 2012, that [s]mall increases in temperature may have reduced the industrial and agricultural production of poor countries, according to a study by Melissa Dell and Benjamin A. Olken at MIT and Benjamin F. Jones at Northwestern University. Temperature rise 'slows economy in poor countries' Higher temperatures may also have contributed to political instability in these countries — defined as those with below-median per capita income, adjusted for the purchasing power of the country's currency — according to the study published in the American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics last month. In contrast, rich countries have so far shown no measurable economic or political consequences resulting from temperature change. "Temperature fluctuations can have large negative impacts on poor... More »
Linking extreme heat events to global warming Last Updated on 2012-08-07 00:00:00 An analysis by James Hansen and colleagues suggests that recent episodes of extremely warm summers, including the intense heat wave afflicting the U.S. Midwest this year, very likely are the consequence of global warming.   Research Links Extreme Summer Heat Events to Global Warming A statistical analysis (Perception of climate change) by NASA scientists has found that Earth's land areas have become much more likely to experience an extreme summer heat wave than they were in the middle of the 20th century. The research was published August 6, 2012, in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.   Earth's Northern Hemisphere over the past 30 years has seen more "hot" (orange), "very hot" (red) and "extremely hot" (brown) summers, compared to a base period defined in... More »
Alpine plants: missing flowering date Last Updated on 2012-07-14 00:00:00 A study conducted over 38 years shows one species' timing has shifted by 13 days. In a changing climate, that "hurry-up-and-flower" date is moving ever earlier on the calendar. How quickly can plants respond? It's Wildflower Season on Mountain Peaks, But Alpine Plants May Soon Miss the Date July brings a riot of color--a rainbow-hued carpet of wildflowers--to the high peaks of the Rockies. In these mountain environments, however, plants have a narrow window of opportunity to set their buds. Now, in a changing climate, that hurry-up-and-flower date is moving ever earlier on the calendar. How quickly can plants respond? The alpine growing season in places like the Rockies doesn't begin until snows melt, sometimes as late as June. Snows may fall again by October. In such habitats, snow covers the ground for eight to nine months of the year--or... More »
Global Environmental Outlook: Fifth Edition Last Updated on 2012-06-06 00:00:00 The United Nations Environment Programme notes that the world remains on an unsustainable track despite hundreds of internationally agreed goals and objectives. An ambitious set of sustainability targets can be met, but only with renewed commitment and rapid scaling-up of successful policies. Global Environmental Outlook: Fifth Edition The world continues to speed down an unsustainable path despite over 500 internationally agreed goals and objectives to support the sustainable management of the environment and improve human wellbeing, according to a new and wide-ranging assessment coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The fifth edition of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5), launched on the eve of the Rio+20 Summit, assessed 90 of the most-important environmental goals and objectives and found that significant progress had only been made in... More »