Two Russian roulette graphs showing potential global warming as presented by MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Warming
Sit down for this one: New analysis from MIT on how much global average temperatures could rise if we continue burning fossil fuels and emitting carbon like there's no tomorrow indicates that things could be twice as bad as we thought:If we do not radically cut emissions, the new projections indicate a median probability of surface warming of 5.2°C by 2100, with a 90% probability of 3.5-7.4°C. This compares to estimates from 2003 of 2.4°C temperature rise.
The study did not cite one factor in the revised figures, but rather several factors combining:
Among these are improved economic modeling and newer economic data showing less chance of low emissions than had been projected in the earlier scenarios. Other changes include accounting for the past masking of underlying warming by the cooling induced by 20th century volcanoes, and for emissions of soot, which can add to the warming effect. In addition, measurements of deep ocean temperature rises, which enable estimates of how fast heat and carbon dioxide are removed from the atmosphere and transferred to the ocean depths, imply lower transfer rates than previously estimated.
The only good news in the study is that if we act to cut emissions by significant amounts, the risk of temperature rise is similar to previous projections.
Just so everyone's clear, 5.2°C temperature rise (or even 3.5°C) is pretty much game over for life as we've grown to know it.
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