Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Climate models keep getting scarier. Think 5-10degF hotter than now,

CO2 over time. Credit: Vostok ice core data/J.R. Petit et al.; NOAA Mauna Loa CO2 record.)

The International Panel on Climate Change, aware of political blowback, has been conservative on its predictions of how fast the planet is changing, and now new studies are arguing that perhaps it should have been leaning the other way.

The new data suggests that things are going to get worse far faster than those conservative estimates, and indeed far faster than the previous worst case scenarios.

This is all starting to read like some science fiction scenario, but itʻs real and itʻs one of our own making. Hereʻs the evidence.

The best climate models from research centers around the world are showing that itʻs getting hotter faster than we thought it would. That translates into faster-melting glaciers, faster-rising oceans, faster changes in storm frequency, faster disruption in weather patterns.

The new climate models are being prepared for the next release of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is to be issued in 2021.
To be clear, the analysis of the newest climate studies is far from done, and it might not be nearly as problematic as it looks. But it might be.

In a post at the blog Carbon Brief, researchers from France and the United Kingdom agreed that the new figures look alarming. 

The last outlook suggested that in a few hundred years, climate will settle—reach equilibrium—at between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Centigrade hotter than now. The new computerized climate models are suggesting that range will actually be between 2.8 and 5.8 degrees Centigrade.

Those are catastrophic numbers. In Fahrenheit, means our descendants will face a world between 5 and 10 degrees hotter on average than now.

Getting higher faster means a lot of bad things. The authors of the Carbon Brief piece suggested one: "Higher warming would allow less time to adapt and mean a greater likelihood of passing climate ʻtipping pointsʻ–such as thawing of permafrost, which would further accelerate warming."

Does this all sound a little like a broken record? Well, yes, it sounds familiar. Thatʻs because records are being broken constantly in this arena.

The U.S. Climate Change Research Program, which is online at, makes the point that the planet is warming faster than at any time in human history.

The Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, in its latest State of the Climate report, noted that 2015, 2016 and 2017 were the three hottest years since the tally has been kept, and that both sea level rise and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were also at record levels.

©Jan TenBruggencate 2019

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