Published: Wed, August 02, 2017
Science | By Boyd Webster

90% chance temperatures will increase by two to 4.9 Celsius by 2100

90% chance temperatures will increase by two to 4.9 Celsius by 2100

A new study published on July 31 in Nature Climate Change is the opposite of reassuring when it comes to this math.

It is believed that technological advances could potentially reduce the impact on climate, but that too would not yield favourable results as 1.5 degrees rise in temperature is nearly inevitable now. They saw that the planet has a mere 5 percent chance of warming by 2 degrees or less in the next 80 years, and that the chance of turning the 1.5-degree increase established by the 2016 Paris climate accord into a reality is at only 1 percent.

"This is due to the fact that much of the expected future population growth will be in Africa, in countries whose carbon emissions are now very low", said Raftery.

A University of Washington academic who led the study, Adrian Raftery, states that, "We're closer to the margin than we think".

Analyzing 50 years of past data gathered from countries around the world, as well as the United Nations and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the researchers modeled their own statistically based projections, focusing primarily on total world population, economic trends, and carbon emissions. Statistical projections were made on the basis of data for the last 50 years. So as emissions fall - and aerosols wash out of the air - we might find ourselves on track for even more warming than we realized, said Robert Pincus, a scientist with the University of Colorado, Boulder, and NOAA's Physical Sciences Division.

Their calculations are not based on the worst-case scenario, with a power consumption still as intense, but include efforts to limit the use of fossil fuels, they say.

The biggest factor was found to be carbon intensity, which has been dropping in recent years due to increased energy efficiency across industries.

The study points to a wide range of possible values of carbon intensity over future decades, depending on technological progress and countries' commitments to implementing changes.

Warming of the planet by 2 degrees Celsius is often seen as a "tipping point" that people should try to avoid by limiting greenhouse gas emissions.

There was a 13% chance that the Earth was already committed to 1.5C warming by 2100, said the authors led by Dr Thorsten Mauritsen, from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Germany.

Even if all human emissions immediately ceased, the atmosphere probably contains enough carbon to push up temperatures by about 1.3 C by the end of the century, according to the second study. If current emission levels continue for 15 years, the planet would likely experience almost 3 degrees Fahrenheit of warming by 2100.

A USA -based expert team used projections for population growth to estimate future production, and related carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels. "It is this committed warming that we estimate".

NASA provides more information on climate change.

In the Paris agreement, the worldwide community committed to limit global temperature rise "well below 2°C" and to "continue efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C", relative to the level before the industrial Revolution in order to avoid the devastating consequences of climate change (droughts, rising oceans, storms, etc.).

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