Global warming of 2ºC more could cause widespread drought

An increase of just 2°C (3.6°F) in global temperatures could make the world considerably drier and more desert-like, new research has warned.

More than a quarter of the world's land surface, home to more than 1.5 billion people, would become more arid and droughts and wildfires could be widespread.

Limiting global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F) would dramatically reduce the percentage of the Earth's surface affected, scientists found.    

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If global warming reaches 2°C (3.6°F) then the world will become considerably drier and more desert-like, according to new research. Aridification would emerge over about 20-30 per cent of the world's land surface (stock image)

WHAT DID THEY FIND?

If global temperatures increase by 2°C (3.6°F)compared to pre-industrial levels then the 20 - 30 per cent of the world's land surface would dry out.    

These areas are home to more than 20 per cent of the world's population - that's over 1.5 billion people. 

The areas most affected areas are parts of South East Asia, Southern Europe, Southern Africa, Central America and Southern Australia.    

Aridification is a serious threat because it can critically impact areas such as agriculture, water quality, and biodiversity.

The increase in temperature and drier world would lead to more droughts and wildfires. 

By limiting the temperature increase to 1.5ºC (2.7°F) the impact would be far less. 

Aridity is a measure of the dryness of the land surface, obtained from combining precipitation and evaporation.  

'Aridification would emerge over 20 to 30 per cent of the world's land surface by the time the global temperature change reaches 2ºC (3.6ºF)', said Dr Manoj Joshi from the University of East Anglia's School of Environmental Sciences and one of the study's co-authors.  

The research team studied projections from 27 global climate models and identified areas of the world where aridity will substantially change.  

The areas most affected areas are parts of South East Asia, Southern Europe, Southern Africa, Central America and Southern Australia.  

These areas are home to more than 20 per cent of the world's population - that's over 1.5 billion people. 

The study looked at the current rate of  global temperature increase and compared it to data from before the industrial revolution.

The world has already warmed by 1°C (1.8°F) since then.    

Two thirds of the affected regions could avoid significant aridification if warming is limited to

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