This new study's findings indicate that increases in CO2 and other GHG won't produce as much warming of surface temperatures as had been previously thought.
25 November 2011
Global temperatures could be less sensitive to changing atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels than previously thought, a study suggests.
By Jennifer Carpenter
Science reporter, BBC News
The researchers said people should still expect to see "drastic changes" in climate worldwide, but that the risk was a little less imminent.
Previous climate models have tended to used meteorological measurements from the past 150 years to estimate the climate's sensitivity to rising CO2.
From these models, scientists find it difficult to narrow their projections down to a single figure with any certainty, and instead project a range of temperatures that they expect, given a doubling of atmospheric CO2 from pre-industrial levels.
The new analysis, which incorporates palaeoclimate data into existing models, attempts to project future temperatures with a little more certainty.
The authors stress the results do not mean threat from human-induced climate change should be treated any less seriously, explained palaeoclimatologist Antoni Rosell-Mele from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, who is a member of the team that came up with the new estimates.
While the situation we face may have less drastic surface temperature rises in store, it remains very serious problem for a variety of other detrimental effects stemming from the rise on CO2 and they remain undiminished. Not the least of these being the increasing acidification of the oceans as they continue to soak up more CO2 from the atmosphere.
World's oceans in peril
Climate change is causing our oceans to become increasingly acidic, threatening to alter life as we know it.
22 Nov 2011
According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, carbon emissions have already risen "far above even the bleak scenarios."
Oceans absorb 26 per cent (2.3bn metric tonnes) of the carbon human activities released into the atmosphere annually, according to a 2010 study published by Nature Geocience and The Global Carbon Project.
Unfortunately, global carbon emissions, rather than slowing down in order to stem climate change, are continuing to increase.
At a 2008 academic conference Exeter University scientist Kevin Anderson showed slides and graphs "representing the fumes that belch from chimneys, exhausts and jet engines, that should have bent in a rapid curve towards the ground, were heading for the ceiling instead".
He concluded it was "improbable" that we would be able to stop short of 650 ppm, even if rich countries adopted "draconian emissions reductions within a decade".
While we're not quite dropping into the fire yet the frying pan we're in still has quite a flame under it.
We can expect the climate deniers will try to distort the implications of this new study on surface temperatures. That's just what they do.