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US studies suggest climate change progressing faster and with greater severity than thought

Thu 07 December 2017 | Back to news list

A study published by a leading US scientific institution suggest that current predictions of climate change may be too optimistic. The study, by the Carnegie Institution for Science in California says that there is a 93 per cent chance that warming may exceed 4C by the end of the century. Past studies have estimated the likelihood of a 4C rise occurring at 62 per cent.

The results of the study, published in Nature, represent a reappraisal of the models climate scientists use to determine future warming trends.

According to a report in The Independent, based on a “business-as-usual” scenario in which emissions continue at the same rate, climate models range in their predictions for 2100 from a 3.2C increase in global temperatures to a 5.9C increase.

The Carnegie study sought to establish whether the upper or lower estimates are more accurate.Their conclusion was that models with higher estimates were more likely to be accurate, with the most likely degree of warming 0.5C higher than previous best estimates. 

Meanwhile, the US Global Change Research Program has recently released a 'Climate Science Special Report'. Written in a deliberately accessible style, it identifies 'nine signals of a changing climate' including changes in land-air temperatures, ocean surface temperatures and sea levels.

All of the nine measurements, according to the USGCRP, are consistent with a warming climate. 

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