Researchers suggest that the seasonal shift will pose a great threat to almost every aspect of life on Earth.
A new study published on Feb. 19 suggests that Earth’s seasons are going to go through a major shift by the year 2100.
In the northern hemisphere, summers are predicted to last six months resulting in winters lasting just short of two months a year. Spring and fall will also be similarly shorter.
While this sounds intriguing to those living in typically colder climates or enjoy in the summer months, this is not good news in the slightest. The researchers of the study express concern for the potential negative effects of this vast spread phenomenon.
Warming summers are projected to cause additional deaths due to heat stress, malnutrition and malaria, and longer growing seasonal allergies because of pollen according to the Washington Post.
“Tropical mosquitoes carrying viruses are likely to expand northward and bring about explosive outbreaks during longer and hotter summers,” the researchers wrote in their study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
According to livescience.com, the seasonal changes have the potential to disturb agriculture and animal behavior, and increase the intensity of heatwaves, storms and wildfires.
“It could also limit the types of crops grown, encourage invasive species or weed growth, or increase demand for irrigation,” the Environmental Protection Agency told CNN. “A longer growing season could also disrupt the function and structure of a region’s ecosystems and could, for example, alter the range and types of animal species in the area.”
The researchers analyzed data from 1950 to 2011. They found that, on average, summers lengthened from 78 to 95 days, winters shortened from 76 to 73 days, spring from 124 to 111 days and fall from 87 to 82 days.
During this period, summer and winters also increased in temperatures.
From there, they took this data and put it into a climate model to predict how much the seasons are likely to change in the future. The worst-case scenario model showed winter shortening and summer lasting half of the year.
According to CNN, “most regions across the Northern Hemisphere have been experiencing longer summers already, but the Mediterranean region is growing by more than eight days per 10 years since the 1950s.” Looking at this data over a longer time scale is worse than it sounds.
NASA explains that damage has already been done even though it may not be plainly obvious because it takes a while for the effects to take place.
“Even if we stopped emitting greenhouse gases today, global warming would continue to happen for at least several more decades, if not centuries,” NASA said on their website. “That’s because it takes a while for the planet (for example, the oceans) to respond, and because carbon dioxide – the predominant heat-trapping gas – lingers in the atmosphere for hundreds of years.”
Although the world is currently spiraling towards this predicted doom, there is at least some hope if action is taken now.
NASA suggests a two-tier approach: mitigation and adaptation. Reducing the flow of greenhouse gases and then learning to live with, and adapt to, the changes that are already set in motion.
Recycling and driving more fuel-efficient cars are actions that individuals can take to help the cause of climate change. However, international policies and agreements to push the use of cleaner forms of energy and efforts at the city-level are needed to create an effective solution.