New data on how clouds respond to planet heating mean that the most severe climate models are the most accurate. Expect catastrophic change by 2100.
Climate change may be far worse than scientists thought, causing global temperatures to rise by at least 4 degrees Celsius by 2100, or about 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit, according to a new study.
The research found that as the planet heats, fewer sunlight-reflecting clouds form, causing temperatures to rise further in an upward spiral.
"4C would likely be catastrophic rather than simply dangerous," lead researcher Steven Sherwood told the Guardian. "For example, it would make life difficult, if not impossible, in much of the tropics, and would guarantee the eventual melting of the Greenland ice sheet and some of the Antarctic ice sheet." [emphasis mine]
Temperature rises resulting from unchecked climate change will be at the severe end of those projected, according to a new scientific study.
The scientist leading the research said that unless emissions of greenhouse gases were cut, the planet would heat up by a minimum of 4C by 2100, twice the level the world's governments deem dangerous.
The research indicates that fewer clouds form as the planet warms, meaning less sunlight is reflected back into space, driving temperatures up further still. [emphasis mine]
Keep in mind that these severe climate models still don't include feedbacks such as methane release. So climate destabilization is likely to escalate even faster.
Remember, nature takes 100,000 years to re-stabilize.
Bill McKibben says even a 2°C rise is dangerous. It wasn't scientists who selected the 2°C target, it was politicians. Now we're told to expect more than 4° rise in the next 8 1/2 decades.
This takes the luster out of Happy New Year.