Thursday, December 24, 2009

Climate Disruption May Be More Severe Than Thought

In a further reminder that when it comes to climate disruption, we really have no idea what we're messing with, a new study by U.S. and Chinese scientists suggests that models have actually underestimated the destabilizing impacts of heat trapping pollutants like carbon dioxide (CO2).  AFP reports:

Global temperatures could rise substantially more because of increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than previously thought, according to a new study by U.S. and Chinese scientists released Sunday.

The researchers used a long-term model for assessing climate change, confirming a similar British study released this month that said calculations for man-made global warming may be underestimated by between 30 and 50 percent.

“This work and other ancient climate reconstructions reveal that Earth’s climate is more sensitive to atmospheric carbon dioxide than is discussed in political circles,” said the paper’s lead author, Yale’s Mark Pagani.

What if these were new findings about an increased likelihood that a common chemical would cause cancer?  Obviously, there's a big scale issue there, but the comparison illustrates the importance of converting these type of climate science findings into appropriate policy solutions.

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Update: for a look at another dimension to the research that's going on exploring the link between greenhouse gases and climate disruption, check out this fascinating adventure with an arctic climate science researcher...

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