As a physicist I think I understand the impact of climate change from a physics perspective. If we continue adding CO2 to the atmosphere, we will continue – on average to warm. We also have projections for the range of warming based on different possible future emissions pathways. We also expect polar amplification; the Arctic will warm faster than regions at lower latitude. This will change the latitudinal temperature gradient and should affect global weather patterns. We expect the hydrological cycle to intensify; regions that already have lots of rain will probably get more, and regions that are dry, will get drier. This will likely influence flooding and droughts.
Adding energy to our climate system is also expected to increase the intensity and frequency of some extreme weather events. These are complex processes, so we may not be able to predict accurately what will happen, but we already have some evidence to suggest a relationship between the intensity of Tropical Cyclones, and sea surface temperature.
However, what I don’t know much about is how – more specifically – these changes will influence us. How will a warmer world influence our (humans) ability continue living in a manner similar to, or better than, we are today? So, a few days ago, I was emailed an infographic that tries to explain what might happen. The source is here, but I thought I would also post it below. I don’t know the credibility of the information on the graphic, but I thought some of my more well-informed commenters might know more about this than me, and may be able to clarify whether or not what this infographic presents is a reasonable representation of our current understanding of the possible impacts.