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Published on May 22nd, 2009 | by Bryan Nelson

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New Study: Global Temperatures to Rise 9 Degrees by 2100

Power Plant Feeding the Sun

A new study, which researchers have called “the most exhaustive end-to-end analysis of climate change impacts yet performed”, predicts that global warming could be twice as bad as previous estimates had suggested.

Published this month in the Journal of Climate, the MIT-based research found a 90% probability that worldwide surface temperatures will rise at least 9 degrees by 2100.

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Pulling from a variety of data sources back in 2007,  the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) projected temperature increases anywhere from 2 to 11 degrees by the end of the century. Now due to this new data, it looks like the higher range of that projection may be closer to the truth.

The new study was done using 400 applications of a computer model, which included looking at complicated factors such as atmospheric, oceanic and biological systems data, as well as global economic activity. A similar 2003 study had predicted a mere– but still significant– 4 degree increase in global temperatures by 2100, but those models weren’t nearly as comprehensive, and they didn’t take into consideration economic factors.

The most impactful way to lower the projections would be to significantly reduce human-produced greenhouse gas emissions, according to the researchers.

While complex factors such as human economic activity can be difficult to quantify exactly in a computer model, it’s increasingly clear that those kinds of factors have a significant impact on global climate. As this study portrays, the more comprehensive and sophisticated our computer models get, the grimmer the news.

In other words, as our models become increasingly more accurate compared to previous models, global warming reveals itself as more acute rather than less. And it becomes much more apparent just how large of an impact human-induced factors can have on climate change.

Via USAToday.com

Image Credit: lorentey at flickr under a Ceative Commons License






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About the Author

has been making up for lost time since finishing his graduate degree in Philosophy by traveling and working to change the world. He has worked with groups like The Sierra Club, Environment America & U.S. PIRG, Environment Oregon & OSPIRG, and Progressive Future on local and national political campaigns. His environmental journalism can be found throughout the web, which also includes regular contributions to MNN.com. Between adventure and activism, he currently can be found doing freelance writing from his home in Hawaii.



  • ASTROBOY

    I remember when the Club Of Rome told us that by the 21st century the world would be so overpopulated that civilisation would pretty much end. That was over 40 years ago. They had a computer model too. A decade after that, when none of their predictions came true they came out with a press release saying they had purposely exaggerated their doom prediction to sort of “wake up” the world to the problem. Well here we are, 21st century, 6 (or is it 7) billion souls and we are still as civilised as we were in 1960. Which isn’t saying much but we haven’t blown ourselves up just yet so thats something.

    Now its “the world is gonna boil away by the 22nd century!” I’m sure the folks that did all this research meant well and probably believe the results of their work. But somehow I am not convinced that their computer model or ANY computer model can predict even the direction of climate change, much less the magnitude, plus or minus one degree.

    By then we may have discovered an entirely new source of clean power. A plague may have reduced the population. We might even find a warmer earth to be preferable to this one. Have you ever read predictions made in 1900 or 1800? Those fellows, many of them learned scientists, foretold a world full of dirigible airships, optical television, guns shooting people to the moon, while totally missing the automobile, computers and communication satellites. Prophecy is a rough business to be in.

  • http://bryannelson.wordpress.com Bryan Nelson

    Astroboy:

    You’re right about one thing in particular, that these predictions won’t come true if we invest in clean energy and reduce our impact on the Earth’s climate. That’s the theme here: these are only projections, and they rely upon factors not changing over time for them to be accurate.

    So we need to do everything we can to change those factors, and change our impact on the planet for the better.

    I think it’s a good thing that we have scientists warning us of where our actions might lead us if we do nothing to change. It may very well be due to their warnings that certain disasters and plagues never happened.

  • http://www.energyplanusa.com Rmoen

    What I want to know is to what extent natural forces are part of the model. …because the wheels are coming off the man-made global warming theory.

    I am a Democrat. For the past 20 years I believed global warming was caused by CO2. Now I’m not so sure, after taking an objective look at the wellspring of man-made global warming theory, the United Nations’ Climate Change 2007 report. Whereas the report should have considered all possible global warming culprits then narrow the field, it instead removed from consideration the possibility that natural forces might drive global warming. It is little wonder that the report pinned the blame on CO2 when in their own words (p. 95), “The topics have been chosen for…assessing…risks of human-induced climate change.” The fix was in. It was politics not science. The mission statement should have read, “Topics have been chosen for assessing risks of human-induced and NATURE-INDUCED climate change.” Remember, the UN developed in Kyoto Protocol. They have a vested interest in demonizing CO2. For further discussion of the report see
    http://energyplanusa.com/ipcc_reports_dont_pass_smell_test.htm

  • Mark1987

    yes i think this is good topic and all of them government think about it.
    due to it lot of energy is emerging in this and in 2021 this can be rise 9 degree.
    ——
    Mark Jones
    ———

    Online job–Online job

  • Nell

    It seems to me that believing the global warming science is a hoax, and that there is a vast conspiracy among scientists and politicians to pull one over on the world is a form of insanity.
    Mountains of evidence support the models.
    Nobody is claiming the models are highly accurate, just the contrary. The models do have large margins of error… but what scares me is the direction global mean temperatures are going as the models are refined. It’s worse than we thought is the prevailing theme. The temperatures being predicted in this latest study are nothing less than catastrophic! That will be a world we won’t recognize. http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/episode/six-degrees-could-change-the-world-3188/Overview#tab-Videos/05029_00

  • http://hendersonbill65@yahoo.com Bill

    It has been apparent for some time that Global Warming was accelerating beyond the predictions of all the climate models.

    It looks like we will meet the temperatures predicted by 2100 by 2060 or so. This is why people need to “grow up” and realize we need to achieve some appreciable reductions of GHG emissions within the next 10 years at the latest.

    People think Hybrids will do it but it will take hybrids 20 years to achieve maybe a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions from cars. This will be too late to make a difference. We can however, triple Ethanol production in 10 years and that would produce a reduction much sooner when it will have a much greater impact.

    In twenty years a 20% reduction won’t matter. CO2 concentrations and the warming affect will be too ‘strong’ for 20% or een 30% reduction to slow it down.

    But alas, people won’t realize this until it’s too late.

  • AVE_fan

    All this arguing about whether man causes global warming is largely unnecessary for the time being.

    We can harvest Convective Energy and waste heat and produce electricity much more cheaply using Atmospheric Vortex Engines, than by burning coal and using nuclear. China and India would follow in our footsteps because it is simply more economic than those two.

    If we developed this technology, which could be proved in two years, we could start reducing the flow of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere on a large scale. see

    http://vortexengine.ca

  • http://www.onecitizenspeaking.com OneCitizenSpeaking

    Since when do we accept the output of a computer as gospel fact when the input data has not been thoroughly examined, the assumptions not made crystal clear, and the data cannot clearly account for what we are presently seeing? And since when do we make public policy that is based on nothing more than silicon dreams and which have the power to enlarge the size of government, raise tax revenues, and curtail personal freedoms?

    Can these researchers be trusted when they might have a massive conflict of interest in that their funding can be traced back to government sources with a self-interest agenda? One side claims that studies funded by oil companies may be corrupt and self-serving, what about the contrarian view of the other side?

    If these weasles were really serious about doing something, why not fast-track nuclear power plants and test the hypothesis instead of screwing around with subsidized solar and wind power?

    And finally, has anybody consulted the sun, our orbital position, the troposphere over the tropics, our ocean currents, and a host of other large-scale macro factors?

    Sorry to be skeptical, but I find it hard to believe anything that is now published based on model runs which cannot be verified by others. Let these guys put their models out for public scrutiny (and not in some half-ass version of Fortran IV, assembly, C and C++ using old compilers and oddly coupled programs. Reproducibility is the key here. And the results of the computer runs should be reproduced by others.

    But it all comes down to the question of whether or not you can accept computer modeling as FACT. I say not.

  • sanity

    change a couple of the paramaters (guesses) in the computer model and you will find that the next ice age will be upon us soon. if the wise folks who predict weather can’t give us an accurate forecast for next month, how can they accurately predict events next year?

  • Hassan

    Who cares we all dead by that time

  • Bob

    Bill – “It has been apparent for some time that Global Warming was accelerating beyond the predictions of all the climate models.”

    Where does this come from? World temperatures have been trending downwards this century,Arctic ice cover has made a significant recovery, Antarctic ice cover is at record levels and there hasn’t been any increase in weather extreme events.

    Is there any evidence at all that human produced CO2 has had any impact on temperature?

  • Imran

    The fact that they predicted a “90% chance that temperatures will be at least 9 degrees” tells you this is complete nonsense. If thats the 90/10, what the 50/50 ? 15 degrees ? ha ha. These chumps can’t even describe a basic expectation curve.

    I have to laugh at some of the comments as well. “The models are all getting worse and worse” … oh no – we are all doomed. Its funny how the models seem to be getting worse and worse, but the actual data seems to be showing us getting cooler and cooler. Work that one out chumps !

    And given that Richard Lindzen is Professor of Meterology at MIT and is a complete AGW critic makes it very doubtful that MIT was involved at all. Here is a quote from him :
    “Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree,and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age”

    Yes ….. that is a quote from the Chair Professor of Meterology at MIT – wake up and smell the roses.

  • http://www.amee.cc AMEE

    The MIT article says different from the USA Today article you’ve linked to.

    “The new projections, published this month in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate, indicate a median probability of surface warming of 5.2 degrees Celsius by 2100, with a 90% probability range of 3.5 to 7.4 degrees. This can be compared to a median projected increase in the 2003 study of just 2.4 degrees”

  • http://jr2020.blogspot.com/ JR

    Climate models don’t even come close to the real thing and are absolutely incapable of producing believable predictions. As for all computer programs – junk in, junk out.

    For some current data on what’s really happening to climate, read:
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/05/25/global-warming-of-7c-could-kill-billions-this-century/#more-8018

  • Arno Arrak

    Who are these anonymous MIT researches whose work you claim to have seen? If their results come from modeling you can forget about them. All these climate models are built to predict warming from carbon dioxide which is not the cause of warming. Satellite data show that there was no warming of any kind until the super El Nino of 1998 showed up. But the grand-daddy of all models, the GISS climate model of Hansen’s in 1988, predicted a steadily rising temperature until 2020 simply by extrapolating a warming trend that was barely ten years old then. That warming has been dubbed the “late twentieth century warming” but it sure does not show up in satellite temperature measurements. Putting that phony warming into a computer will give you phony output too – GIGO is the word. When you look at world temperatures you will find that there actually was warming between 1998 when the El Nino started to 2007 and when a La Nina cooling put an end to the twenty-first century high. This warming was interpolated between regular ENSO oscillations thanks to an Indian Ocean overflow that created the El Nino. This is something their models are totally incapable of handling. They just show a monotonic increase of temperature with time and try to incorporate the 1998 El Nino and the twenty-first century high to cover up their deficiencies. But their luck has run out and they can’t fake it any longer. Climate has returned to normal with the La Nina cooling we are in and will be governed by ENSO oscillations from now on. Which means that a giant gap has opened up between those model predictions and reality which will be increasingly obvious when they realize that their “scenarios,” “projections” or whatever they choose to call their predictions just to avoid using the word “prediction” are now totally out of touch with reality.

  • Kirk

    I have very little confidence in these computer models. Considering that the earth has not been getting warmer since 1998, they need to come out with ever more hysterical predictions to scare us into the global warming frenzy. In the 1990s they said that it would continue to get hotter, but with the new millennium it has plateaued. The past predictions have not held up, so why should the new ones? It is very easy to talk about things that might happen in the future. Here in Spain it has been an unusually cold winter.

  • Uncle B

    Do not fear Global Warming! The great hulking American Neanderthal and his “American Dream” way of life, primary causes of all of these problems, directly or indirectly, have been conquered by the Asians, and vanquished from the face of this earth in an economic war, he doesn’t understand or know how to fight! In a short decade, including the next naturally cyclic downturn in his primitive capitalistic, corporatist driven economy, the greater depression and a dollar not worth the paper it is printed on will face the Asian markets, Beijing, Shanghai and Hang Seng, booming with a strong incorruptible “Yuan”, bidding on international markets for oil, the Great hulking American Neanderthals life blood, against worthless paper, U.S. dollars with no backing, of ill repute! The currency for international trade is becoming the Yuan as we speak, replacing the Yankee sawbuck, the much manipulated, backing-less “fiat” paper, “Federal reserved”, money of the great hulking American Neanderthal! His cities, monuments to corporative and capitalistic rape, look like this – SEE: http://uprooted.jessicareeder.com/2009/09/detroit-and-the-100-dollar-house/comment-page-1/#comment-3003 – when the corporatists are done raping, pillaging the country. The Great hulking American Neanderthal is broke today! his Loans about to be called in! By China! His great WWII style battle-field ready Military Forces unmannable but by conscription, and totally dependent on OPEC for it’s fuel, a mockery on the international economics battle field! He has nuclear power to kill the whole world 12 times over, but none to heat his homes! Power his industries! Besides, the corporatists Capitalists have already monopolized and cartelled the world’s nuclear fuel and await for their new fuel games to begin! His food supply totally dependent on fuel from other countries, his corn, GMO’ed his meat laced with hormones and antibiotics, causing genetic changes in his daughters, ready to whelp at 10 years of age! His sons born with ever smaller penises due to corporates BPA plastics, estrogen in his meats giving them early, feminine, breasts! The medical care he gets a shame to the rest of the civilized world, tied to impossible “eligibilities” by corporatists to extract more from the system, his taxing systems so corrupt as to create many Billionaires, an anomaly in this whole, other-wise normal world! The great Hulking American Neanderthal, about to follow the U.S.S.R. into the abyss, and as it closes over his head, we will hear him sing praises of his own glory and they will echo off the walls of Hell as he disappears from the face of the earth, no longer to consume some 80% of our resources! We the remnants of this once great beast, will finally be free of Nuclear threats, Military threats, and Global warming! Massive pollution problems, and hunger, there will be a surplus in the lands for the smaller statured vegans of the world, and great joy among them! This is the Fourth Turning for America, and the beginning of the age of Aquarius, the end of the Mayan calendar, and biblical in proportion!The end of the great Hulking American Neanderthal, evolved in less than 200 years, bred to extract the riches of the New World, and extinct in a short decade by his own hand, Gone!

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