The Associated Press06 Jan 2021 11:52:04 AM IST
The magnitude of global warming from carbon pollution in the air is sufficient, according to a new study, to exceed the internationally agreed targets to limit climate change. This is not the end of the game, however, as this warming, while inevitable, can be delayed for several centuries if the world quickly stops emitting additional greenhouse gases from burning coal and gas. Oil and natural gas, say the study’s authors. For decades, scientists have been talking about what is known as “sustained warming,” or the future rise in temperature that is due to previous carbon dioxide emissions that have remained in the atmosphere for over a century. It’s like the distance a moving car travels after braking.
But Monday’s study in the newspaper Climate change of nature calculates this a little differently and now estimates that the carbon pollution that is already being released into the air will raise global temperatures to around 2.3 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times.
Previous estimates, including those accepted by international scientific groups, were about one degree below this induced warming.
International climate agreements have set goals to limit warming to two degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times, with the more ambitious goal of limiting it to 1.5 degrees Celsius in Paris in 2015. The world has already heated up to around 1.1 degrees Celsius.
“They have some … global warming inertia that will cause the climate system to warm up, and that’s basically what we’re calculating,” said study co-author Andrew Dessler, a climatologist at Texas A & M University. . “Think of the air conditioning system like the Titanic. It is difficult to turn the ship when you see the icebergs.
Dessler and his colleagues from Lawrence Livermore National Lab and Nanjing University in China calculated a dedicated warming to account for the fact that the world warmed at different rates in different places and in places that did not. not warmed up so quickly are doomed to catch up.
Places like the Southern Ocean and surrounding Antarctica are a little cooler, and this difference creates deep clouds that reflect the sun more away from land, which keeps those places cooler. However, this situation cannot last indefinitely, as physics dictates that colder places will heat up more and when it does, the clouds will decrease and more warming will occur, Dessler said.
Previous studies have been based on the fact that colder places stay that way, but Dessler and colleagues say it isn’t likely.
Outside experts said the work was based on compelling reasoning, but they wanted more research to show that this was true. Zeke Hausfather, climate specialist at the Breakthrough Institute, said the new work fits climate models better than observational data.
Just because the world needs to warm more than international goals doesn’t mean that all is lost in the fight against global warming, said Dessler, who warned of what he was saying. called them “climate destroyers”.
If the world soon hits zero net carbon emissions, 2 degrees of global warming could be delayed so that it doesn’t happen for centuries, giving society time to adapt or even find technological solutions. he explained.
“If we don’t do that, we’ll get through (the climate goals) in a few decades,” said Dessler. “It is really the rate of warming that makes climate change so terrible. If we had a few degrees over 100,000 years it wouldn’t be that bad. We can do this. But a few degrees over 100 years is really bad.
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