April 22, 2018

Global warming to reach 'tipping point': scientists predict

01 August 2017, 10:58 | Francis Delgado

Image Lima Andruška Flickr Creative Commons

Image Lima Andruška  Flickr Creative Commons

The research shows a 5 percent chance that global warming will be at or below that level by the end of this century. "We're closer to the margin than we think", Raftery said.

In the study, the researchers utilized statistical projections on world population, gross domestic product per person, and the amount of carbon emitted for each dollar of economic activity.

The projected temperature rise in the new study, typically thought by climate experts as a "tipping point", would lodge Earth in the mid-range warming scenarios detailed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) of the United Nations.

One study, led by researchers from University of Washington (UW), used statistical tools and concluded there was "only a 5 percent chance that Earth will warm 2 degrees [Celsius] or less by the end of this century".

The authors point out in the paper that their model is not a "business as usual" scenario, but instead based on data that already shows the effects of mitigating climate change in policy, so it is the most inclusive model to date.

"The likely range of global temperature increase is 2.0-4.9 [degrees Celsius] and our median forecast is 3.2 C", noted Adrian Raftery, author of the study and professor of statistics and sociology at the University of Washington, according to CNN.

"Our analysis shows that the two-stage target is achieved only in the ideal scenario and can be achieved, but only by significant and sustained efforts on all fronts over the next 80 years", adds -he.

"... The goal of 2 degrees is very much a best-case scenario", said Raftery in a statement.

Scientists have warned for years that an increase in global temperatures of 2 degrees Celsius could cause unsafe weather patterns, crunch the global food supply and force entire populations to migrate.

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"Countries argued for the 1.5 C target because of the severe impacts on their livelihoods that would result from exceeding that threshold". A new study published on July 31 in Nature Climate Change is the opposite of reassuring when it comes to this math.

Two degrees of warming marks the likely threshold for widespread ecological problems, including coral reef collapse, markedly higher sea-level rise and crop failures, according to NASA.

"Overall, the goals expressed in the Paris Agreement are ambitious but realistic", Raftery says.

Climate change is often associated with impending dangers such as heat stress, severe storms, flooding, inhibited access to clean water and food, and the spread of infectious diseases.

Surprisingly, the results showed that population growth had very little impact on rising temperatures.

Mauritsen, author of the second study, noted that even though Carbon dioxide has a long lifetime in the atmosphere, the ocean's absorption capacity could reduce estimates of global warming by 0.2 degrees C. Mauritsen and his co-author, Robert Pincus, arrived at an estimated warming of 1.3 degrees by 2100, along with the estimated ocean factor of 1.1 degrees C.

The team found that global warming is expected to increase air pollution-related deaths globally, except in Africa. The Paris Agreement is less precise, with signatories aiming for emissions to peak "as soon as possible".

All those factors considered, the most likely figure for warming is about 3.2C by 2100, the study finds.

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