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article imageThe Earth is warming faster than we first thought

By Karen Graham     Sep 17, 2019 in Environment
Greenhouse gases thrust into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels are warming Earth's surface more quickly than previously understood, according to new climate models set to replace those used in current UN projections, scientists said Tuesday.
There are extreme challenges posed by the climate crisis facing the world today, and the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) has repeatedly stressed the importance of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
But with today's announcement, we are learning that by 2100, average temperatures could rise 6.5 to 7.0 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels if carbon emissions continue unabated. This information comes from two leading research centers in France using two separate climate models.
The two climate models are part of some 30 next-generation models - known collectively as CMIP6 - set to replace those used in current UN projections. The new models use increased supercomputing power and sharper representations of weather systems, natural and man-made particles, and cloud changes.
Olivier Boucher, head of the Institute Pierre Simon Laplace Climate Modelling Centre in Paris, explains that "We have better models now. They have better resolution and they represent current climate trends more accurately."
With the new models in place, scientists already realize it will be harder to reach the Paris Agreement goals of capping global warming at "well below" two degrees, and 1.5C if possible. "With our two models, we see that the scenario known as SSP1 2.6—which normally allows us to stay under 2C—doesn't quite get us there," Boucher said.
"CMIP6 clearly includes the latest modeling improvements," even as important uncertainties remain, Joeri Rogelj, an associate professor at Imperial College London and an IPCC lead author, told AFP.
The new models will underpin the IPCC's next major report in 2021, which is likely to paint a very bleak picture for the future of the climate.
More about Climate, Supercomputing, Warming, climate accord, Temperature
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