According to a new study by the journal Geophysical Research Letters, if climate conditions stay on track, summer in the Northern Hemisphere will last 6 months by the end of the century.
The research found that climate change is starting to affect the length of seasons. Most notably that summers are extending and winters are shrinking. In fact, winter will only last for 2 months by the end of the century.
In the last 60 years, summer has been extended by 17 days, while winter, spring, and autumn have decreased by three, nine, and five days respectively.
This will severely impact humans, animals, plants, and life as we know it in a variety of ways.
How Did the Report Determine This?
The report looked at historical data to compile the current trend of the seasons.
This data was then used with current weather prediction simulations to see what the data would look like at the end of the century. And just to be clear, leap years were not included, thus every year was 365 days in the calculations.
The researchers defined summer as the period when the temperature exceeded the 75th percentile of temperature averaged over 1952–2011. Whereas winter was defined when the temperature fell below the 25 percentile and lower.
Autumn and spring were defined as the temperature ranges in between these periods.
Impact of A Longer Summer
To some, the idea of longer summers sounds great. However, the reality of it is much scarier than people realize.
Many regions rely on snow packing on mountain ranges for freshwater. During the winter months, snow builds upon the mountains, and during the spring and summer, the snow melts. That water finds its way into the local rivers and streams.
Currently, snow pack levels are low on the west coast, which is one factor for the drought.
Another issue is with the biological clocks within animals. During the winter months, animals and insects hibernate. If winter ends earlier, the flowers will start growing but have no bees to pollinate them.
This will also make disease carrying insects, like mosquitoes, enter regions they would not normally enter.
The warming temperatures and extended summers will also affect how quickly crops grow. Many popular food crops can only grow during certain weather conditions. This could severely impact the world’s food security.
And you can expect many other impacts.
We Can Prevent This From Happening
One important aspect of the report to keep in mind is that it is based on current conditions continuing as they are. Thus, this nightmare scenario can be avoided entirely.
At its core, the entire issue is the release of heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase on a year-by-year basis, and only a complete lockdown stopped that trend.
Yet, emissions are likely to continue to increase once lockdown conditions end. While nations are talking big when it comes to climate change, there’s not much action to back it. In fact, the world is not even close to the 2030 Paris Agreement goals.
Although, recovery efforts may help accelerate government action.
Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.