Scientists have long been attempting to increase the accuracy of their climate projections. The current popular method of creating climate models involves using various temperature readings recorded over the last 150 years. This method often gives broad ranges of possibilities with a current bleak outlook on the next century.
However, a team of scientists recently used a different method to create climate projections. These projections are not only more concise, they are also less dire than those currently predicted by many climate scientists. According to lead author Andreas Schmittner, climate change is still a significant threat but maybe not quite as imminent.
The method used by Schmittner and his colleagues incorporated palaeoclimate data from the last Ice Age. This ice age occurred approximately 21,000 years ago. Since this was many thousands of years prior to the Industrial Revolution, the team was able to attain data without human carbon dioxide emissions. According to their findings, the Ice Age in question was warmer than scientists have previously determined.
These findings enabled the scientists to determine how well global temperatures reacted to carbon dioxide at this time. They determined that the globe reacted less strongly to increasing carbon levels than thought, noting this as their climate insensitivity factor. Using this factor in their climate models, the scientists were able to attain a smaller range of potential climate scenarios.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change projected in 2007 an increase in temperature between 2 to 4.5 degrees Celsius. According to the new study published in the journal Science, global temperatures will increase between 1.7 and 2.6 degrees Celsius. These figures are all in relation to doubling the carbon dioxide levels prior to the Industrial Revolution.
Despite the changes to projections by the scientists, they still point to the need to make changes in order to reduce the impact of global warming, changes which they believe will be significant regardless of which projection numbers are used. However, using their projections the world may have slightly more time to make changes, but changes are still necessary under their findings.