x

Science

Study: Warming Already Baked in Will Blow Past Climate Goals

The amount of baked-in global warming, from carbon pollution already in the air, is enough to blow past international agreed upon goals to limit climate change, a new study finds.

But it's not game over because, while that amount of warming may be inevitable, it can be delayed for centuries if the world quickly stops emitting extra greenhouse gases from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas, the study's authors say.

For decades, scientists have talked about so-called "committed warming" or the increase in future temperature based on past carbon dioxide emissions that stay in the atmosphere for well over a century. It's like the distance a speeding car travels after the brakes are applied. 

But Monday's study in the journal  Nature Climate Change calculates that a bit differently and now figures the carbon pollution already put in the air will push global temperatures to about 2.3 degrees Celsius (4.1 degrees Fahrenheit) of warming since pre-industrial times. 

Previous estimates, including those accepted by international science panels, were about a degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) less than that amount of committed warming.

International climate agreements set goals of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial times, with the more ambitious goal of limiting it to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) added in Paris in 2015. The world has already warmed about 1.1 degrees Celsius (2 degrees Fahrenheit). 

"You've got some … global warming inertia that's going to cause the climate system to keep warming, and that's essentially what we're calculating," said study co-author Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist at Texas A&M University. "Think about the climate system like the Titanic. It's hard to turn the ship when you see the icebergs."

Dessler and colleagues at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab and Nanjing University in China calculated committed warming to take into account that the world has warmed at different rates in different places and that places that haven't warmed as fast are destined to catch up. 

Places such as the Southern Ocean, surrounding Antarctica are a bit cooler, and that difference creates low-lying clouds that reflect more sun away from earth, keeping these places cooler. But this situation can't keep going indefinitely because physics dictates that cooler locations will warm up more and when they do, the clouds will dwindle and more heating will occur, Dessler said. 

Previous studies were based on the cooler spots staying that way, but Dessler and colleagues say that's not likely.

Outside experts said the work is based on compelling reasoning, but want more research to show that it's true. Breakthrough Institute climate scientist Zeke Hausfather said the new work fits better with climate models than observational data. 

Just because the world is bound to get more warming than international goals, that doesn't mean all is lost in the fight against global warming, said Dessler, who cautioned against what he called "climate doomers." 

If the world gets to net zero carbon emissions soon, 2 degrees of global warming could be delayed enough so that it won't happen for centuries, giving society time to adapt or even come up with technological fixes, he said. 

"If we don't, we're going to blow through (climate goals) in a few decades," Dessler said. "It's really the rate of warming that makes climate change so terrible. If we got a few degrees over 100,000 years, that would not be that big a deal. We can deal with that. But a few degrees over 100 years is really bad."

RELATED

What is my favorite ‘Christmas spirit ingredient”?’ The cinnamon-clove aroma! It seems that my nose follows my spirit – or vice versa! One way or another, tradition is in my DNA and consciousness for sure! From November 15 to December 15, the Christmas fasting period includes feast day of Aghia Varvara – Santa Barbara – as a milestone.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

FALMOUTH, MA – The police in Falmouth have identified the victim in an accident involving a car plunging into the ocean on February 20, NBC10 Boston reported.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

Mitsotakis: Today’s Bill Comes to Define a New Field in Which Everyone Should Move

ATHENS - At the end of August 2022, I announced a legislative initative for the upgrading and modernisation of the protection, the operation of the security agencies and the operation of the communications and after the change in National Intelligence Service's (EYP) leadership and the establishment of double check to the legal intrusions," stated Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis addressing the parliament on Thursday during the debate on Justice Minstry's bill on the lifting of the communications confidentiality, cybersecurity and protection of the citizens' personal data.

ATHENS - Greek annual inflation rate slowed to 8.

The Tsigaris cousins behind the successful Nick the Greek quick-service Greek food chain that began in California and has 38 restaurants open and 60 more in the works is selling a majority stake to Yadav Enterprises, because of a Greek link.

DOHA, Qatar — England's players have been asked one question on repeat as they prepare to face France in the World Cup quarterfinals on Saturday.

NEW YORK — New York Knicks forward Obi Toppin will miss at least two weeks because of a fracture in his right leg.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. abc@xyz.com

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.