Tuesday, February 24, 2009

MIT group increases global warming projections

Report: High odds of warming over 5°C (9°F) if no action

Warming possibilities for "no policy" and policy scenarios between 1990 and 2100. Size of pie slice indicates the likelihood of a given amount of warming under the different scenarios. Graphics courtesy MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change.

New research from MIT scientists shows that in the absence of stringent reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, 21st century climate change may be far more significant than some previous climate assessments had indicated.

The new findings, released this month by MIT's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, showed significantly increased odds that by the end of the century warming would be on the high end of the scale for a so-called "no policy scenario" as compared with similar studies completed just six years ago. The main culprits: the cycling of heat and carbon dioxide in the climate system are now better understood and projections of future greenhouse gas emissions have increased.

The results also showed that even if nations were to act quickly to reduce emissions, it is more likely that warming would be greater than previous studies had shown. However, the increase in projected temperatures under the "policy scenario" was not as large as for the no policy scenario. …

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