According to a new study by scientists at the Met Office, the United Kingdom's national weather service, the global average temperature will likely rise by 4°C (7.2°F) by 2060.
"Four degrees of warming, averaged over the globe, translates into even greater warming in many regions, along with major changes in rainfall," said Dr. Richard Betts, Head of Climate Impacts at the Met Office Hadley Centre.
Dr. Betts presented the new findings at "4 Degrees and Beyond," a special conference held this week at Oxford University. The conference -- a lead-up to the COP 15 United Nations Climate Change Conference, held in Copenhagen in December -- is the first of its kind to consider the global consequences of climate change beyond 2 °C.
These consequences include a rapid drying of Africa, the melting of the Arctic and flooding in India.
"Together these impacts will have very large consequences for food security, water availability and health," Dr. Betts said.
"However, it is possible to avoid these dangerous levels of temperature rise by cutting greenhouse gas emissions. If global emissions peak within the next decade and then decrease rapidly it may be possible to avoid at least half of the four degrees of warming."
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