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PUBLISHED: 11:00 EST, 19 November 2018 | UPDATED
Climate change will make us more likely to wet the bed and trigger a plague of ticks, snakes and voles, research claims.
A rise in ‘devastating’ droughts, floods, wildfires and other weather events caused by global warming will impact nature in a number of bizarre ways, the study shows.
As emissions increase, society faces a much larger threat from climate change than previously thought, the team from University of Hawaii in Manoa said.
They analysed thousands of scientific papers on climate change, uncovering 467 different ways that greenhouse gases impact life on Earth.
They include an increase in floods, drought, wildfires and hurricanes that the team projects will hit both rich and poor communities.
Some of the stranger effects included changes to animal behaviour, including ticks, snails and snakes.
Rising temperatures will likely alter the distribution of snails in China, pushing them into regions that were previously too cold for them to inhabit.
Snakes and ticks are also heavily impacted by atmospheric temperatures, and countries with low numbers of the creatures could see a rise by 2100.
In Sweden, an invasion of voles in 2007 was attributed to reduced snow cover after an unusually warm winter – similar plague could become more common.
The team behind the new study said warmer temperatures may also cause people to wet the bed more.
Previous research has shown that pregnant women exposed to heavy flooding gave birth to children who wet the bed more, and were aggressive toward other children.
The increasing exposure to the multitude of climate hazards will impact both rich and poor countries – especially in tropical coastal areas.
In the year 2100, New York is expected to face up to four climate hazards, if greenhouse gas emissions are not mitigated.
Sydney and Los Angeles will face three concurrent climate hazards, Mexico City will face four, and the Atlantic coast of Brazil will face five.
The study was co-authored by 23 scientists, including several who are on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and they have released an interactive map of the threats.
For example by 2095 the UK faces increased warming, rainfall and drought while suffering a deficit in fresh water.
The paper concludes urgently: ‘Overall, our analysis shows that ongoing climate change will pose a heightened threat to humanity that will be greatly aggravated if substantial and timely reductions of greenhouse gas emissions are not achieved.’
Lead author Associate Professor Camilo Mora said: ‘Greenhouse gas emissions pose a broad threat to humanity by simultaneously intensifying many hazards that have proven harmful in the past.
‘Further, we predict that by 2100 the number of hazards occurring concurrently will increase, making it even more difficult for people to cope.
‘The collision of cumulative climate hazards is not something on the horizon, it is already here.
‘Last year, for instance, Florida recorded extreme drought, record high temperatures, over 100 wildfires, and the strongest ever recorded hurricane in its Panhandle: The category 4 Hurricane Michael.
‘Likewise, California is currently experiencing ferocious wild fires and one of the longest droughts, plus extreme heatwaves this past summer.’