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Hadley Centre: Average 4 °C Warming Could Happen Within a Human Lifetime, With Even Greater Warming in Many Regions

Betts
Comparison of surface temperature projections from the high-end emissions scenario, without carbon cycle feedbacks. Temperature increases between 1961-1990 and 2090-2099, averaged over all high-end members. Source: Met Office. Click to enlarge.

One of the UK’s leading climate scientists has presented new research findings on the increasing potential for a 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 °F) rise in global temperatures if the current high emissions of greenhouse gasses continue.

Dr Richard Betts, Head of Climate Impacts at the UK Met Office Hadley Centre,  presented the findings at a special conference called “4 degrees and beyond” at Oxford University. The conference, attended by 130 international scientists and policy specialists, is the first to consider the global consequences of climate change beyond 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 °F). 4 degrees and beyond is taking place on 28-30 September 2009 and is jointly sponsored by Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute, the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, and the Met Office Hadley Centre.

The Met Office research describes the possibility of a 4-degree warming happening before the end of the century, with some extreme regional implications. This high emissions scenario is based on no action being taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions significantly, starting in the next few years. If carbon cycle feedbacks are strong then a 4 degree warming could occur even earlier.

Extreme regional potential implications include:

  • for the Arctic, a warming by 10 degrees (18 °F) or more due to melting of snow and ice causing more of the sun’s radiation to be absorbed;

  • for Africa, the western and southern regions experiencing both large warming (up to 10 °C) and drying;

  • rainfall could decrease by 20% or more in major global regions; although there is a spread in the magnitude of drying, most models indicate reductions in rainfall over western and southern Africa, Central America, the Mediterranean and parts of coastal Australia.

4 degrees of warming averaged over the globe translates into even greater warming in many regions, along with major changes in rainfall. If greenhouse gas emissions are not cut soon then we could see major climate changes within our own lifetimes.

—Dr. Betts

Topics from more than fifty other conference research papers include: food and water security; vulnerable populations; human health; migration; wild fires; sea level rise; wildlife conservation; and ecosystem services. Regional case studies will include Amazonia; Australia; Bangladesh; Brazil; Ethiopia; Finland; Mauritius; Siberia; Vietnam; and the monsoon region. For the UK, topics will include water scarcity, farming and forestry, and adaptation.

Keynote talks are being given by Professor John Schellnhuber (Director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, earth system thresholds); Dr Philip Thornton (International Livestock Research Institute, Nairobi, sub-Saharan agriculture); Professor Yadvinder Mahli (Oxford University, tropical forests); Dr Pier Vellinga (Wageningen University, sea-level rise), and Professor Kevin Anderson (Director, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, global emission pathways).

Since the late 1990s, greenhouse gas emissions have increased at close to the most extreme IPCC scenarios, meaning that rates of warming will be faster than most people expect. 4 degrees and beyond will review the best science on the consequences of these large climate changes and what we can do about it.

—Dr. Mark New of the Oxford University School of Geography and the Environment and the Tyndall Centre, conference convener

Recent research from the Tyndall Centre showed that achieving the 2 degree target will require a complete reversal in emissions trends and concludes that 4 degrees is more likely. Similarly, the Met Office has shown that to achieve a 2 degree target, a deep 3% cut in emissions annually beginning from next year, 2010. Emissions have risen at 3% per year in the 17 years since the 1992 Earth Summit where countries first agreed to tackle global warming.

The conference is timed in advance of the December United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen, where governments will for the 15th year discuss their progress on reaching an international treaty for cutting emissions.

Comments

kelly

Like tobacco smoking causes cancer, scientists are proving greenhouse emissions cause global warming.

Stan Peterson

This ismore baloney just in time for the Copenhagen Conference. Fac t si that htwe rhas been no global warming in a decade and this was toatally umpredicted . The primitive state to the Climaet models don't incorporate Clouds corerectly, regional teneporary effects like the PDO or the ARO, el Ninos, La Ninas or Solar output changes, the effect of galactic cosmic rays, or any changes that Mankind is doing tohis energy supplies. nor any recent research efforts like the ARGOS Buoy system which shows the Oceans are cooling.

This propaganda assumes the models are entirely correct, which we know and every seriosu scientist conceeds is not true; or that we will, or even could, just continue to burn petroleum in ever increasing amounts, and that is neither realisitic or probably possible.

HarveyD

We may one day find a cure for lung cancer, but will we find a cure to Global Warming and all the side effects?

arnold

Clearly there is a lot of crystal ball watching going on and all appear to show strong effects from feedback.

It has been reported that plummeting rainfall averages in southern Australia *may* reverse now the hole in the ozone appears to be starting to close, a process expected to take till the end of the century.

This 4 oC scenario, as the 2 oC, has the science community closely agreeing as to the outcomes at those points.

It may be that every different virtual future is different in detail, our choices of finding one we can live with reduces with time.

A 2 oC scenario requires a low carbon economy. Failing that we can factor the 4 oC scenarios where the carbon economy accelerates the journey.

"Found the throttle, where's the brakeman?"

Reel$$

But wait! The whole global warming scenario relies on the Mann hockey stick that IPCC and climate changers insist is er... Reel! And now that the Royal Society has insisted that CRU author Keith Briffa release his raw data - low and behold - the hockey stick temperature rise has disappeared! Sort of like some of the raw data that has repeatedly been requested by outside scientists.

Looks like Briffa and team hockey have picked just twelve cherry trees to base their whole global warming prediction on. Twelve weighted tree ring sets. Oooops.

http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2009/9/29/the-yamal-implosion.html

Kelly

"But wait! The whole global warming scenario relies on the Mann hockey stick that IPCC and climate changers insist is er... Reel!"

No, it doesn't. Even among those who deny that climate change is occurring, I have never heard a claim that it started with the Mann hockey stick.

There was plenty of literature before that. Get thee to a library.

Reel$$

Don't need a library to see a guy who selects his data to get a result is essentially a crook. This is why the whole AGW campaign has failed. It's based on less than honest "science."

Credibility. When major contributors to IPCC and the AGW agenda (Briffa) are found to be...well, fraudulent - the campaign is dead. And prosecutions begin.

aym

See some denialists still spouting the same stuff.

Argos buoys don't show cooling at all. Willis found sensors were off. Since it's his work that basically is the foundation of the Argos arguement, that basically tells how desperate the deniers are by ignoring the correction of that error from over a year ago.

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/OceanCooling/

The trend of heating has continued. Taking '98 as a starting point is a statistical trick. An old one.

http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-stopped-in-1998.htm

The Mann hockey stick is an old and tired arguement. The NRC already put in their conclusions to the hockey stick and in the meantime other scientists have used other methodologies and temperature proxies.

They all show basically the same thing. Current temperature are higher now then in recent history.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:1000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.png

Really Reel$? Heresay biased views being touted as fact. Nothing new from you from your time away.

As usual, the denialist crowd has little in the way of real science to back them up.

Reel$$

"This has been a test of the emergency climate change system. In the event of global warming being exposed for the now sure fraud that it is - break the glass and call for the last remaining quick responders."

The money is drying up and quick responders need to find new jobs. RIP global warming.

aym

Looking for science and this is what you get from Reel. Not surprising.

AGW is accepted by every recognized scientific org in the world.

Get out under that rock Reel. The only revelation is that the same small group of flat-earthers still cling to denialism.

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