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Quote of the day

'By far the greatest danger of Artificial Intelligence is that people conclude too early that they understand it'

 

Eliezer Yudkowsky

Solution to cloud riddle reveals hotter future

RATE THIS! +38
Posted in Science on 3rd Jan, 2014 12:03 AM by AlexMuller

Global average temperatures will rise at least 4°C by 2100 and potentially more than 8°C by 2200 if carbon dioxide emissions are not reduced, according to new research published in Nature that shows our climate is more sensitive to carbon dioxide than most previous estimates.

 
The research could solve one of the great unknowns of climate sensitivity, the role of cloud formation and whether this will have a positive or negative effect on global warming.
 
“Our research has shown climate models indicating a low temperature response to a doubling of carbon dioxide from preindustrial times are not reproducing the correct processes that lead to cloud formation," said lead author from UNSW's Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, Professor Steven Sherwood.
 
“When the processes are correct in the climate models the level of climate sensitivity is far higher. Previously estimates of the sensitivity of global temperature to a doubling of carbon dioxide ranged from 1.5°C to 5°C. This new research takes away the lower end of climate sensitivity estimates, meaning that global average temperatures will increase by 3°C to 5°C with a doubling of carbon dioxide."
 
The key to this narrower but much higher estimate can be found in the observations around the role of water vapour in cloud formation.
 
Observations show when water vapour is taken up by the atmosphere through evaporation the updraughts often rise up to 15 km to form heavy rains, but can also rise just a few km before returning to the surface without forming such rains.
 
In addition, where updraughts rise this smaller distance they reduce total cloud cover because they pull more vapour away from the higher cloud forming regions than when only the deep ones are present.
 
Climate models that show a low global temperature response to carbon dioxide do not include enough of this lower-level process. They instead simulate nearly all updraughts rising to 15 km.
 
These deeper updraughts alone do not have the same effect, resulting in increased reflection of sunlight and reduced sensitivity of the global climate to atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Tags: climate changeglobal warmingCO2greenhouse gasesnatureenvironmentcloudstemperature

Read original article » Back to category

Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-03
+2
There seem to be a lot going on with prediction about temperature changes and outcomes of global warming. Once again one message is clear - it is happening and humans need to act Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-03
+0
I agree with the statements that rises in global average temperatures of this magnitude will have profound impacts on the world and the economies of many countries if we don’t urgently start to curb our emissions
3 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-03
+0
This panel says that global warming carries risk of deep changes. At the same time, some worst-case fears about climate change that have entered the popular imagination can be ruled out as unlikely, at least over the next century Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-03
+0
We should not relax and stop any of the regulations and measures to reduce global worming due to human activity. If we stop, this prediction may soon change Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-03
+1
Climate sceptics like to criticise climate models for getting things wrong-they are not perfect, but what we are finding is that the mistakes are being made by those models which predict less warming, not those that predict more
2 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-03
+0
Most climate scientists believe the human release of greenhouse gases has made immense changes in the earth inevitable. Nevertheless they hope that many of these will happen slowly enough that society can adapt. Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-03
+1
It is important to keep documenting and predicting climate change. Recently, a billion dollar climate denial network was exposed. An extensive study into the financial networks that support groups denying the science behind climate change and opposing political action has found a vast, secretive web
3 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-03
+0
This is a large-scale political effort that has not only played a major role in confounding public understanding of climate science, but also successfully delayed meaningful government policy actions to address the issue- must be exposed and stopped Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-01-03
+1
I found this statement and completely agree with it "Money amplifies certain voices above others and, in effect, gives them a megaphone in the public square." And this is really bad if misrepresents the facts Reply
Reply


 

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