Climate Change Media

Nature 2010 : More Hard-Hitting

Two articles in the first issue of Nature Geoscience in 2010 should help you sit up and take notice that Climate Science has advanced far beyond public acceptance; and that perhaps it is time for the Media to sharpen up their reporting.

The first is one I have already reported on today :-

“Nature Geoscience 3, 60–64 (1 January 2010) : doi:10.1038/ngeo706 : Earth system sensitivity inferred from Pliocene modelling and data : Daniel J. Lunt , Alan M. Haywood , Gavin A. Schmidt , Ulrich Salzmann , Paul J. Valdes & Harry J. Dowsett : Abstract : Quantifying the equilibrium response of global temperatures to an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations is one of the cornerstones of climate research. Components of the Earth’s climate system that vary over long timescales, such as ice sheets and vegetation, could have an important effect on this temperature sensitivity, but have often been neglected. Here we use a coupled atmosphere–ocean general circulation model to simulate the climate of the mid-Pliocene warm period (about three million years ago), and analyse the forcings and feedbacks that contributed to the relatively warm temperatures. Furthermore, we compare our simulation with proxy records of mid-Pliocene sea surface temperature. Taking these lines of evidence together, we estimate that the response of the Earth system to elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations is 30 – 50 % greater than the response based on those fast-adjusting components of the climate system that are used traditionally to estimate climate sensitivity. We conclude that targets for the long-term stabilization of atmospheric greenhouse-gas concentrations aimed at preventing a dangerous human interference with the climate system should take into account this higher sensitivity of the Earth system.”

The second is an analysis of how little extra atmospheric Carbon Dioxide we need to make a significant change to the planetary climate :-

“Nature Geoscience 3, 6–7 (1 January 2010) : doi:10.1038/ngeo736 : Palaeoclimate: Global warmth with little extra CO2 : Birgit Schneider & Ralph Schneider : Abstract : In the Early Pliocene, three to five million years ago, global temperatures were about 3 – 4 degrees C warmer than today in the low latitudes, and up to 10 degrees C warmer nearer the poles. Climate simulations and reconstructions of this relatively recent period (geologically speaking) may help constrain realistic magnitudes of future warming.”

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