Climate change has strongly impacted many aspects of life on the planet in recent years: more frequent floods, higher temperatures, among other phenomena. If we do not act to mitigate global warming and greenhouse gas emissions, scientists estimate that by 2100 the summer in the northern hemisphere could last up to six months. This according to a study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, by analyzing the changes in the duration of the seasons in the northern hemisphere between 1952 and 2011.
According to the study, in the 1950s the duration of the four seasons in the northern hemisphere reached a predictable and fairly uniform pattern. However, this has ceased to be the case with climate change and, according to the researchers’ analysis, summer increased from 78 to 95 days between 1952 and 2011. Winter consequently decreased from 76 to 73 days, while that spring and fall also contracted from 124 to 115 days and from 87 to 82 days.
As a result of these changes, spring and summer in the Northern Hemisphere now start earlier, and fall and winter start late. These changes in seasonal cycles were recorded with greater intensity in the Mediterranean region and on the Tibetan plateau. If global warming trends continue without any intervention to mitigate them, the researchers predict that by 2100, winter will last less than two months and the transitional seasons of spring and fall will be further shortened.
These changes in the duration of the seasons would have several negative effects, some of which are already beginning to be felt. Among them, the researchers mention changes in the migration patterns of birds and in the flowering season of plants. This could lead to mismatches between animals and their food sources, as well as havoc on agriculture and an increase in the length of pollen seasons, causing more allergies.
Regarding the latter, an investigation published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, pollen seasons currently begin 20 days earlier. In addition, these seasons are now 10 days longer and present 21% more pollen than in 1990. This was identified based on data, between 1990 and 2018, from pollen counting stations in the United States and Canada. The data suggests, global warming is driving pollen production earlier in the year.
In relation to the havoc on agriculture that climate change and the change in the cycle of the seasons could cause, some crops will be more susceptible to this phenomenon. For example, the Rainforest Alliance organization predicts a drop of between 65% and 100% in the number of regions suitable for growing coffee in Africa, due to climate change. Other crops in danger are: wheat, peaches, cocoa.
To prevent these consequences and havoc, it is important that governments, industries and international organizations work together to achieve zero carbon emissions goals. Otherwise, humanity could face many problems stemming from climate change, in addition to increasing the length of summer to six months in the Northern Hemisphere by 2100.