Area of sandy land in northern China will increase at a rate of 27km2 per decade under global warming of 2.0°C during the year of 2040 to 2059, relative to 1.5°C of 2020 to 2039, a recent study by Chinese scientists showed.
The study, led by scientists from Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, was a projection of actual evapotranspiration (ETa) under the 1.5°C and 2.0°C global warming scenarios in sandy areas in northern China.
ETa is the quantity of water loss due to evaporation and transpiration. It is an essential component of Earth's global energy balance and water cycle.
"Analysis of the ETa in northern China's sandy land under the 1.5°C and 2.0°C global warming scenarios is significant in research of desertification impact and the desertification control in this area," said MA Xiaofei, first author of the study.
The Paris Agreement, signed by near 200 contracting parties in 2015, agreed to try limit global mean surface warming to less than 2°C, or even further of 1.5°C, relative to preindustrial levels.
Scientists investigated the spatiotemporal features of ETa in sandy areas in northern China under global warming scenarios of 1.5°C and 2.0°C. The four climate models indicated significant increases in ETa.
Under global warming of 2.0°C during the year of 2040 to 2059, relative to that of 1.5°C during 2020 and 2039, the area of sandy land will increase at a rate of 27.04km2 per decade, according to the study.
After this period, the sandy land area in northern China may gradually stabilize, with a trend of 0.02km2/a between 2047 and 2100, the projection analysis showed.
"Early efforts to achieve the 1.5°C temperature goal could therefore markedly reduce the likelihood that large regions will face substantial global desertification and the related impacts," said MA.
The research results,"Projections of actual evapotranspiration under the 1.5°C and 2.0°C global warming scenarios in sandy areas in northern China," were recently published in Science of the Total Environment.