‘Like a Terror Movie’: How Climate Change Will Cause More Simultaneous Disasters

Photo: A seaside neighborhood in Mexico Beach, Fla., devastated by Hurricane Michael this year. Scott Olson/Getty Images

Global warming is posing such wide-ranging risks to humanity, involving so many types of phenomena, that by the end of this century some parts of the world could face as many as six climate-related crises at the same time, researchers say.

This chilling prospect is described in a paper published Monday in Nature Climate Change, a respected academic journal, that shows the effects of climate change across a broad spectrum of problems, including heat waves, wildfires, sea level rise, hurricanes, flooding, drought and shortages of clean water.

Such problems are already coming in combination, said the lead author, Camilo Mora of the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He noted that Florida had recently experienced extreme drought, record high temperatures and wildfires — and also Hurricane Michael, the powerful Category 4 storm that slammed into the Panhandle last month. Similarly, California is suffering through the worst wildfires the state has ever seen, as well as drought, extreme heat waves and degraded air quality that threatens the health of residents.

map: climate change and global impacts

Things will get worse, the authors wrote. The paper projects future trends and suggests that, by 2100, unless humanity takes forceful action to curb the greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change, some tropical coastal areas of the planet, like the Atlantic coast of South and Central America, could be hit by as many as six crises at a time.

That prospect is “like a terror movie that is real,” Dr. Mora said.

The authors include a list of caveats about the research: Since it is a review of papers, it will reflect some of the potential biases of science in this area, which include the possibility that scientists might focus on negative effects more than positive ones; there is also a margin […]

More on climate change impacts:

Climate change endangers half the world’s groundwater supply

The Water Crises Aren’t Coming—They’re Here

We’re in a global water crisis. It’s time to turn to nature

Severe Global Water Cycle Shifts Due to Abrupt Climate Change

‘Living With Water’: Facing Climate Change, Cities Trade Sea Walls for Parks

The Seafloor Is Dissolving Because of Climate Change

Study: most-accurate climate change models predict most-alarming outcomes

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‘Like a Terror Movie’: How Climate Change Will Cause More Simultaneous Disasters
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‘Like a Terror Movie’: How Climate Change Will Cause More Simultaneous Disasters
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Researchers: Global warming poses wide-ranging risk, by the end of this century parts of the world could face as many as six climate-related crises at once.
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The New York Times
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