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Scientists examined more than 100,000 studies and discovered that the world is in a climate-crisis blindspot.

Scientists examined more than 100,000 studies and discovered that the world is in a climate-crisis blindspot.

They discovered something else instead: There is a worrying inequality in the world climate science.

Climate change studies tend to be twice as likely focus on richer countries in North America and Europe, than low-income countries like Africa and the Pacific Islands. This blind spot is a problem as the Global South will continue to be more severely affected by the climate crisis than the wealthier countries.

As more people have to deal with the consequences of climate change, including devastating wildfires and deadly floods, the ability for scientists to link the climate crisis to actual-world impacts has increased dramatically in the last decade. It has been difficult to analyze and collect the vast amount of data to understand the global effects.

In Research published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Monday, scientists used machine learning — training computer algorithms to detect patterns and predict outcomes — to analyze more than 100,000 climate change studies.
“There’s so much climate science out there, like tens and thousands.” [of studies]”It is very difficult to grasp the evidence,” Max Callaghan, the lead author of the study, and a researcher at The Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons & Climate ChangeCNN was told by. “So we trained the machine learning algorithm to predict the areas that we didn’t have time to look at — which is most of them.”

Compiling the results of all of those studies would suggest a vast majority of the world — 80% of land area, where 85% of the world’s population lives — is experiencing the effects of the climate crisis right now. Experts know that this is a significant percentage, but the true number may be even greater.

The blind spot in research was referred to by the authors as an “attribution gap”. Callaghan stated that the gap suggests that 85% is likely to underestimate.

Friederike Otto (co-lead for the World Weather Attribution Initiative), who wasn’t involved in the machine-learning research, said that the study’s estimate was likely too low. Over the years, climate scientists such as Otto have repeatedly stated that the climate crisis would leave no place in the globe unaffected.

“The study was focused on changes in precipitation and mean temperature, but we know heat extremes are changing faster that mean temperatures, and that heat extremities are increasing almost everywhere,” Otto stated to CNN. “It’s likely that almost everyone experiences extreme weather changes due to human greenhouse gas emission.”

A family from Sydney, Australia, visiting an area devastated by bush fires in the New South Wales region of Australia on Jan. 28, 2020.

Callaghan stated, “What we find is that the evidence is not distributed equally across countries.” “This is important because we often find very few scientific papers in low-income or less developed countries when trying to map the effects of climate changes.

Callaghan said that this attribution gap leaves people questioning if climate change is occurring in these areas, even though climate scientists strongly believe so.

He said, “We want you to know that the absence of evidence does not prove absence.”

The authors acknowledge that an automated approach can’t replace careful assessment by experts, but it can identify large numbers studies for a region that may point to the consequences of human-caused climate changes.

Tom Knutson, senior scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and co-author of the study, told CNN the machine learning methodology has “a number” of limitations and weaknesses, since it only accounts for certain climate impacts — in this case, human-induced precipitation and temperature changes.

He said that if it took into account other impacts, such as sea level rise and so forth, the result may have indicated that “a greater fraction of the world’s population is experiencing climate change.”

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Callaghan said that despite the observed extremes the dearth of substantial scientific proof has the effect of limiting changes that can be proposed and implemented in under-studied places, despite Callaghan’s assertion.

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“It’s valuable to bring together the literature, data, and this study has done that, which allows us see where more data is required and where there are gaps,” Otto said, pointing back to previous studies. “Their finding that there is a gap in South Asia is similar to our last year’s, where we found that extreme events are less frequently identified and are subject to fewer attribution studies in countries with poorer populations.

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Callaghan stated that the new machine-learning research provides a key message to world leaders: Climate Change is already occurring and the planet will continue to heat. Adaptation is crucial as well as stopping the use of fossil fuels. The new study provides a roadmap for climate research and climate funding, and it is up the global leaders to make that happen.

He stated that the world would continue to heat unless we stopped burning fossil fuels. There is no other way. “And what we really need is to recognize is the need to change our trajectory and reduce emissions.

Correction: This story has now been updated to reflect that Nature Climate Change published the study.

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