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Risks to biodiversity from temperature overshoot pathways

Meyer, Andreas LS; Bentley, Joanne; Odoulami, Romaric C; Pigot, Alex L; Trisos, Christopher H; (2022) Risks to biodiversity from temperature overshoot pathways. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences , 377 (1857) , Article 20210394. 10.1098/rstb.2021.0394. Green open access

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Abstract

Temperature overshoot pathways entail exceeding a specified global warming level (e.g. 1.5°C or 2°C) followed by a decline in warming, achieved through anthropogenically enhanced CO2 removal from the atmosphere. However, risks to biodiversity from temperature overshoot pathways are poorly described. Here, we explore biodiversity risks from overshoot by synthesizing existing knowledge and quantifying the dynamics of exposure and de-exposure to potentially dangerous temperatures for more than 30 000 species for a 2°C overshoot scenario. Our results suggest that climate risk to biodiversity from temperature overshoot pathways will arrive suddenly, but decrease only gradually. Peak exposure for biodiversity occurs around the same time as peak global warming, but the rate of de-exposure lags behind the temperature decline. While the global overshoot period lasts around 60 years, the duration of elevated exposure of marine and terrestrial biodiversity is substantially longer (around 100 and 130 years, respectively), with some ecological communities never returning to pre-overshoot exposure levels. Key biodiversity impacts may be irreversible and reliance on widespread CO2 removal to reduce warming poses additional risks to biodiversity through altered land use. Avoiding any temperature overshoot must be a priority for reducing biodiversity risks from climate change, followed by limiting the magnitude and duration of any overshoot. More integrated models that include direct and indirect impacts from overshoot are needed to inform policy. This article is part of the theme issue 'Ecological complexity and the biosphere: the next 30 years'.

Type: Article
Title: Risks to biodiversity from temperature overshoot pathways
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2021.0394
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2021.0394
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 The Authors. Published by the Royal Society under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/, which permits unrestricted use, provided the original author and source are credited.
Keywords: Paris agreement, carbon dioxide removal, climate change, climate horizon profiles, ssp5-3.4-os, Biodiversity, Carbon Dioxide, Climate Change, Global Warming, Temperature
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10151878
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