Scientists bust cloud mystery, find that global temperatures will rise higher than previously estimated.
Scientists warn that if carbon dioxide emissions are not controlled and reduced, global temperatures will rise more than previously expected– as much as 8 degrees Celsius by the year 2200.
The research also solves a long-time climate mystery that was disrupting global climate estimates, the role of cloud formation on global warming.
“One of the biggest problems in climate science has been figuring out how much the global temperature will go up when you double carbon dioxide,” lead author of the study Prof. Steven Sherwood said on a video release discussing the findings . “Estimates of the climate sensitivity that have been lower are founded on models of the atmosphere that are not consistent with observations.”
According to the study, the researchers found that climate models which indicate lower temperature responses were “not reproducing the correct processes that lead to cloud formation.”
When correcting the cloud formation process in climate models, the scientists concluded that the global average temperatures will increase by 3 degrees Celsius to 5 degrees Celsius with a doubling of carbon dioxide– which is higher than previously estimated, due to a misunderstanding of cloud formations.
The new research shows that global temperatures will rise by at least 4 degrees Celsius by the year 2100 and by at least 8 degrees Celsius by the year 2200.
“Anything over 3 or 4 degrees is likely to be quite serious. What we’d be looking at; oppressive heat stress in the summertime, difficult agriculture and warm regions and a host of other impacts,” Prof. Sherwood says in the video.
“Climate skeptics like to criticize climate models for getting things wrong, and we are the first to admit 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,” said Prof. Sherwood in a news release.
“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.”
The study was published in Nature.