Redrawing the Map: How the World’s Climate Zones Are Shifting

Redrawing the Map: How the World’s Climate Zones Are Shifting

Rising global temperatures are altering climatic zones around the planet, with consequences for food and water security, local economies, and public health. Here’s a stark look at some of the distinct features that are already on the move.

By Nicola Jones

A young boy herds his goats in the Ghat District of Libya, which has been converted largely to desert in the last 100 years. TAHA JAWASHI/AFP/Getty Images

As human-caused emissions change the planet’s atmosphere, and people reshape the landscape, things are changing fast. The receding line of Arctic ice has made headlines for years, as the white patch at the top of our planet shrinks dramatically. The ocean is rising, gobbling up coastlines. Plants, animals, and diseases are on the move as their patches of suitable climate move too.

Sometimes, the lines on the map can literally be redrawn: the line of where wheat will grow, or where tornadoes tend to form, where deserts end, where the frozen ground thaws, and even where the boundaries of the tropics lie…