Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Global Warming Train Is A-Coming

Upsala Glacier, then and now

Even faster than scientists originally predicted, unfortunately. As President English-as-a-Second-Language would say, scientists have apparently misunderestimated global warmings' effects, due to a flaw in the models for climate change. This means current estimates are too low, by as much as 78%.

Guardian (uk): Global warming predictions are underestimated say scientists

Climate change models have dramatically underestimated the extent to which global warming will raise temperatures, scientists warned yesterday.


The flaw came to light during a study of the effects of global surface temperatures on atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Scientists have long known that greenhouse gases raise temperatures by insulating the planet. But a less well known mechanism is that the warmer the planet gets, the more carbon dioxide is released naturally by soil and oceans. The result is a mechanism where atmospheric carbon dioxide creates warming that causes even more carbon dioxide to be released.

Peter Cox, scientific director for climate change at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Dorset, with researchers from the US and the Netherlands, used ice cores from the Antarctic to study carbon dioxide levels trapped during a period called the Little Ice Age, from 1550 to 1850. They found carbon dioxide increased rapidly with warming, as soils decomposed faster and oceans lost more of the gas.

Because scientists have been unable to quantify the effect before, it has not been included in many climate models. But when it is taken into account, it lead to carbon dioxide levels that boosted temperatures by between 15 and 78%.

BBC: Global warming risk 'much higher'

1 comment:

beervolcano said...

it's much more beautiful now, don't you think? Looks more habitable by animals.