SOURCE: The Guardian
DATE: July 5, 2017
SNIP: Hopes that the world’s huge carbon emissions might not drive temperatures up to dangerous levels have been dashed by new research.
The work shows that temperature rises measured over recent decades do not fully reflect the global warming already in the pipeline and that the ultimate heating of the planet could be even worse than feared.
How much global temperatures rise for a certain level of carbon emissions is called climate sensitivity and is seen as the single most important measure of climate change.
“The hope was that climate sensitivity was lower and the Earth is not going to warm as much,” said Cristian Proistosescu, at Harvard University in the US, who led the new research. “There was this wave of optimism.”
The new research, published in the journal Science Advances, has ended that. “The worrisome part is that all the models show there is an amplification of the amount of warming in the future,” he said. The situation might be even worse, as Proistosescu’s work shows climate sensitivity could be as high as 6C.
Prof Bill Collins, at the University of Reading, UK, and not part of the new research, said: “Some have suggested that we might be lucky and avoid dangerous climate change without taking determined action if the climate is not very sensitive to CO2 emissions. This work provides new evidence that that chance is remote.”