New research focusing on clouds reveals that temperatures will get even hotter than predicted by climate models.
Climate deniers who disguise themselves as skeptics like to say that climate models exaggerate the effects of global warming. This new research appears to indicate that climate models predict significantly lower temperatures than will likely materialize.
According to the new research temperatures will rise at least 3 degrees by the end of the century which is twice the commonly accepted lower boundary predicted by climate models. The research by a team led by the University of NSW studied 43 climate models and was published in the Journal Nature at the start of 2014.
So far global temperatures have risen about 0.8 degrees since the dawn of the industrial revolution (about 1880). The reason the temperature has not risen higher is due to system lags and air pollution reflecting sunlight. A four degree rise in temperature is two times the safe upper threshold limit agreed upon around the world. A four degree increase would be catastrophic. It would adversely impact agriculture, contribute to sea level rises and generate more extreme weather.
The research focuses on reduced temperature increases from clouds which block the sun’s light and reflect the rays back into space thereby cooling the earth’s surface. However this new study suggests that clouds will not provide as much protection from the sun’s warmth as previously thought.
Current models predict that atmospheric carbon will double as soon as the middle of this century. This will result in temperature rises of between 3 – 5 degrees rather than the 1.5 – 5 degrees predicted by previous studies.
The research indicates that shallower cloud circulations will pull water vapour away from the level at which clouds form, causing them to dissipate.
“Such mixing dehydrates the low-cloud layer at a rate that increases as climate warms,” the report found.
“The net effect of [climate change] is you have less cloud cover,” Steven Sherwood, lead author of the report and a professor at UNSW’s climate change research centre said. “We’ve been hoping for the best and not planning for the worst. And now it’s looking like the best is not very likely.”
© 2014, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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