START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good

'Worst' of Climate Predictions Are the Most Likely: New Study

Environment  (tags: animals, climate-change, CO2emissions, conservation, destruction, ecosystems, endangered, energy, environment, globalwarming, greenhousegases, habitatdestruction, healthconditions, habitat, nature, oceans, pollution, Sustainabililty, world )

- 108 days ago -
Groundbreaking research on cloud behavior and global warming says 'catastrophic' increase of 4°C or more by 2100 should be expected

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.


Kit B. (277)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 8:04 am
Photo Credit:

New research by a team of scientists looking at the impact of cloud behavior on planetary climate change says that "the worst" and "catastrophic" predictions offered by previous studies on the rate of global warming this century are much more likely than the less severe scenarios offered by others.

According to Dr. Steven Sherwood, lead author of the study and a specialist in climate and cloud formations at the University of New South Wales in Australia, cloud patterns in an increasingly warming world are likely to exacerbate global temperature increases overall, not mitigate warming as some models have suggested.

"This study breaks new ground twice," Sherwood explained in an interview with the Guardian. "First by identifying what is controlling the cloud changes and second by strongly discounting the lowest estimates of future global warming in favor of the higher and more damaging estimates."

The research predicts that global temperatures will likely rise at least 4°C by 2100 and potentially more than 8°C by 2200 if carbon dioxide emissions are not reduced and serious actions by governments and society are not taken.

Such drastic increases, Sherwood told the Guardian would be "catastrophic rather than simply dangerous."

Specifically, the study looked at how already warming temperatures impact the ability of clouds to form at high altitudes, because that ability can greatly impact the way in which large clouds help the planet reflect or absorb the sun's heat. One of the long-acknowledged shortcomings of other climate computer models—which drive much of the work of climate change predictions—is the difficulty of accurately projecting cloud behavior under complex, future conditions.

By tackling that problem, say Sherwood and his colleagues, their research "cracks open one of the biggest problems in climate science."

As the Syndey Morning Herald reports:

--Will Steffen, an adjunct professor at Australian National University and a member of the Climate Council, said the paper was ''right out on the forefront of the sort of research we need to do on clouds''.

* ''The more we get research like from [Professor Sherwood] and his group, the more confidence we'll have in being able to say where in that range [the temperature increase] is likely to fall.''

* The CO2 level of the atmosphere in 2012 was 393 parts per million, or 41 per cent higher than in pre-industrial times, the World Meteorological Organisation said. The level is rising at an accelerating rate - more than two parts per million a year - as humans burn more fossil fuels and cut down forests.

* Global temperatures have risen about 0.8 degrees since about 1880, with system lags and air pollution reflecting sunlight partly explaining why the rise has not been higher. ''We've been hoping for the best and not planning for the worst,'' Professor Sherwood said.

* ''And now it's looking like the best is not very likely.''

In 2012, a study by the World Bank—an institution not typically known for sounding the alarm over industrial, human-caused global warming—also said that a 4°C temperature rise was not only possible, but likely if humanity did not change course. According to Kim Yong Kim, the bank's president, the resulting impacts of a planet that warm would likely "make the world our children inherit a completely different world than we are living in today."

And those kinds of warnings only mirror the consistent and nearly unanimous consensus of the international scientific community when it comes to temperature increases that exceed the 2°C increase that world governments have set as the benchmark not to exceed this century. The problem, of course, is that no agreements or promises have resulted in actual emission reductions. In fact, annual global emissions continue to increase even as the warnings escalate.

Jon Queally | staff writer | Common Dreams |


Marianne R. (105)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 8:05 am
This is scary for our future generations.

Ben Oscarsito (348)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 9:45 am
"Because we don't think about future generations, they will never forget us"
(Henrik Tikkanen)

Roseann D. (176)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 9:56 am
It can be deduced that the corporations promoting climate denial and those unwilling to accept the reality must truly hate their children.

Freya H. (287)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 11:49 am
Scary, yes - but we are a tough species. We need to prepare for the worst, not just for personal survival but also of the best aspects of our culture, and our knowledge, as well as what species we can save.

pam w. (187)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 11:58 am a long-time zoo educator/environmentalist....I'd love to believe we can survive....but I know it can't possibly be survival as we know it! We may be able to save domesticated animals (we MUST save them for food) but ''wild'' species are going to disappear for awhile. took millions of years for life to adapt after the last ice age.

I hope someone very, very wealthy buys up all the libraries and art to represent our best and then SECURES them indicators for any humans who may survive into the next thousands of years.

Barbara K. (87)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 1:47 pm
We are the only ones who can stop or slow down this process with our actions. After us, it will be too late. We have future generations of us to think about and need to take action now to protect them. Thanks, my friend, for the post.

Carmen S. (606)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 1:54 pm
Thanks Kit, scary weather out there all around now.

Meme Mine (0)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 2:16 pm
Fact; YOU tell little children YOU believe in climate change while science believes on nothing beyond "could be".
Deny that and stop acting like fear mongering neocons.

Rose NoFWDSPLZ (265)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 3:52 pm
Scary indeed

Michael A. (25)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 4:35 pm

. (0)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 4:59 pm
Great article, Kit. Thanks for sharing.

Chaz Berlusconi (61)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 5:14 pm
thanks.. and noted.. not good news

Brian M. (144)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 8:12 pm
Time is rapidly running out to even hope for survival. We must end our industrial addiction to fossil fuels and embrace all the alternatives, wind, water, solar, and even nuclear.

JL A. (270)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 9:36 pm
Yikes--is anyone in power really listening?

Tanya Selth (0)
Saturday January 4, 2014, 10:16 pm
I cant believe I still see people who dont believe in global warming making comments.

Our governments are only going to change when its basically too late for so many environments and their animals. We are going to end up loosing a lot as thou that doesnt sound like much change, it will impact, plants/trees and hence environment and everything in that environment. Things like that cant adapt just within 100 years.

Nimue P. (195)
Sunday January 5, 2014, 1:57 am

Craig Pittman (44)
Sunday January 5, 2014, 7:06 am
Our gift to future generations where quality of may be measured in terms of survivability.

Jane H. (125)
Sunday January 5, 2014, 7:59 am

Cinzia Palamara (63)
Sunday January 5, 2014, 11:34 am
Thanks for sharing, Kit.

Kathy G. (0)
Sunday January 5, 2014, 5:40 pm
we are seeing signs now-

Dave C. (204)
Monday January 6, 2014, 9:14 am
...and yet we still have those like Meme Mine......never can figure out what he is trying to say with his odd avatar and odder comments......but clearly not a realist.....

Dave C. (204)
Monday January 6, 2014, 9:15 am
even if one doesn't believe in climate scienc, one should have many other reasons to want to stop climate and environmental devastation....

only when there is no food to eat, water to drink, air to breathe will some awaken to the truth of the results of their action or lack of action.....

gabriele jefferson (129)
Monday February 17, 2014, 5:59 am
noted, shared on fb & twitter
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story

Loading Noted By...Please Wait


Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.