It is crunch time at the 21st United Nations Climate Change Summit COP (Conference Of Parties) in Paris from Nov 30 to Dec 11. In the most crucial summit in the history of the conference, countries are coming together to agree on real changes to global policies. From shrinking ice caps to warming temperatures, these five charts paint a gloomy outlook for the world’s future.
1. Balancing act between economic growth and carbon emissions
Explore the interactive chart to see the impact economic growth has had on a country’s carbon emissions over the years from 1986 to 2011. Hovering over a bubble will show you a country's overall trajectory. Use the sidebars to compare different country groups or choose your own. Click the play button on the bar below the chart to see how carbon emissions for a country have changed between 1986 and 2011.
You will see China, with the third largest GDP and the largest population, has the highest amount of carbon emissions. Europe, with the highest GDP, has managed to maintain or even reduce its carbon emissions since 1986.
2. A consistently warmer globe
The 10 warmest years on record have taken place since 1998. Since 1910, global land-ocean temperatures have risen by an average of 1.3 deg C.
The image below shows the difference between the mean land and sea temperatures from May to October this year and the average temperatures from 1951 to 1980. It shows that most of the planet has warmed by 0.2 to 2 deg C.
The chart below shows the land sea temperature trend, using the 1901 to 2000 average in January as a baseline. The disturbing frequency of bars in red, showing the increase in temperatures, since 1980 shows just how much warmer our planet has become.
3. Shrinking ice sheets in the Arctic
While it’s normal for Arctic Sea ice to shrink every year, what is unusual is how the ice is now declining at a rate of 13.3 per cent per decade, relative to the 1981 to 2010 average. Sea ice is melting rapidly but so is the area of perennial ice, as captured by satellite records.
This Nasa time series visualises the annual September ice melt and the shrinking of perennial ice each year. The chart below tracks the amount of ice lost in million square km each year.
4. Rapid rise in sea levels
On average, sea levels rise by 3.24mm per year. Over the past 100 years, 178mm was added due to two main factors: melting land ice and rising ocean temperatures, which in turn caused seawater to expand.
Satellite data have been used to track sea levels since 1993. There has been a sharp increase in sea levels since 2011, although it has been increasing steadily every month since 1993.
5. Off-the-chart increase in carbon dioxide (CO2)
The last measurement of CO2 taken in October this year was 401.58 parts per million. This is the highest on record in over 650,000 years - Nasa compared current levels with those recorded from ice cores.
Nasa has captured carbon dioxide levels in the air from 2002 using atmospheric infrared sounder (Airs). The visualisation below shows the rapid influx of this chemical into the air around the world since 2006 - shown by an increase in yellow, orange and red shades.
The direct measurements of carbon dioxide taken every month since 2005 are charted below.
Follow the latest news and updates from Paris here.
Sources:Reuters, Nasa Goddard Flight Space Centre, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Nasa Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet