Scientists narrow warming range
Global warming is unlikely to exceed a two degree celcius hike over the coming 100 years, according to groundbreaking research by a team of Australian scientists.
Scientists from the University of Melbourne and Victoria University have generated updated modeling that predicts that the feared six degree increase in temperature is unlikely, while a hike of over two degrees is very likely in the event of business-as-usual emissions.
Led by Victoria University’s Dr Roger Bodman in conjunction with Professors David Karoly and Peter Rayner from the University of Melbourne, the new modeling was created through combining observations in carbon dioxide and global temperature variations with simple climate modeling simulations.
Dr Bodman said while continuing to narrow the range even further was possible, significant uncertainty in warming predictions would always remain due to the complexity of climate change drivers. “This study ultimately shows why waiting for certainty will fail as a strategy,” he said. “Some uncertainty will always remain, meaning that we need to manage the risks of warming with the knowledge we have.”
The study found 63% of uncertainty in projected warming was due to single sources – such as climate sensitivity, followed by future behaviour of the carbon cycle and the cooling effect of aerosols – while 37% of uncertainty came from the combination of these sources.
“This means that if any single uncertainty is reduced – even the most important, climate sensitivity – significant uncertainty will remain,” Dr Bodman said.
Professor Karoly said the study reinforced the importance of strong action on climate change.
"Our results reconfirm the need for urgent and substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions if the world is to avoid exceeding the global warming target of 2 degrees needed to minimise dangerous climate change," he said.