There’s no doubt about it, humanity is not on a good path when it comes to preserving our planet. The damage is substantial, and the effects of it are alarming, according to the most accurate model of climate change.
Climate Change Models
According to a recent study by Patrick Brown and Kel Caldeira of the Carnegie Institute for Science, these climate change simulations that predict the future of the planet are not looking good. Equations in the models give us a sense of the factors that govern the behavior of the oceans and atmosphere.
After running multiple models, the researchers looked for the results that best captured our current predicament, and used that to narrow the simulations down to the most accurate climate change models.
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This study adds yet another warning to the growing collection of evidence that human activity is contributing to drastic climate change, and gives us a sense of how dire these changes will be. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that while the research is well-executed and worth consideration, it’s not yet definitive. Still, there’s no doubt that our planet is heating up and that we’re in for a rude awakening sooner, rather than later.
The government National Climate Assessment states that human influence is the “dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” This information has been known for a while, but while Brown and Caldeira aren’t the first to study a large collection of models, their approach was rather unique.
The researchers compared the simulations to satellite observations of the actual atmosphere, and took a look at the balance of ingoing and outgoing radiation that contributes to the Earth’s temperature. This allowed them to arrive at extremely accurate models that are true-to-life in our current situation.
The study found that the models that most accurately capture the Earth’s energy balance are also the ones that estimate global warming on the high end of the spectrum. Between 2081 and 2100, the best models gave a result of an 8.64 degree Fahrenheit increase in planetary temperature. While 2081 seems a long way off, it is coming sooner than we think. A temperature change of that size — especially if followed by further increases — could spell disaster for our environment.
While some scientists had noted that the increase in global warming when compared to current estimates is relatively small, and that future models may invalidate the current simulation, Brown argued that these results have a significant real-world implication
The world’s “carbon budget” is shrinking, meaning that if we want to stave off the eventual destruction of our planet due to climate change, we’ll have to significantly reduce emissions.
This is a major headache for policy makers, as controlling emissions will also majorly hurt many businesses and decrease the efficiency of a growing economy. Still, if this information is correct, quick and drastic changes in how we treat our world are necessary if we want to hold off the progression of climate change.