Navigation path

Themes
Agriculture & food
Energy
Environment
ERA-NET
Health & life sciences
Human resources & mobility
Industrial research
Information society
Innovation
International cooperation
Nanotechnology
Pure sciences
Research infrastructures
Research policy
Science & business
Science in society
Security
SMEs
Social sciences and humanities
Space
Special Collections
Transport

Countries
Countries
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Finland
  France
  Georgia
  Germany
  Ghana
  Greece
  Hungary
  Iceland
  India
  Ireland
  Israel
  Italy
  Japan
  Kazakhstan
  Kenya
  Korea
  Latvia
  Lithuania
  Luxembourg
  Macedonia - former Yugoslav Republic
  Malta
  Mexico
  Montenegro
  Morocco
  Namibia
  Netherlands
  Nigeria
  Norway
  Peru
  Poland
  Portugal
  Romania
  Russia
  Serbia
  Slovakia
  Slovenia
  South Africa
  Spain
  Sweden
  Switzerland
  Taiwan
  Tunisia
  Turkey
  Ukraine
  United Kingdom
  United States


   Infocentre

Last Update: 21-05-2012  
Related category(ies):
Research policy  |  Environment

 

Add to PDF "basket"

Sophisticated simulations predict future warming

The chances of our planet being hit by a global warming of 3 degrees Celsius by 2050 is as likely as it being hit by an increase of 1.4 degrees, new research shows. Presented in the journal Nature Geoscience, the British study ran close to 10 000 climate simulations on home computers via a sophisticated climate model to get the results, which suggest that failure to stop emissions will force Earth to cross the two-degree barrier before this century ends. The study was funded in part by the WATCH and ENSEMBLE projects. Both WATCH ('Water and global change') and ENSEMBLE ('Ensemble-based predictions of climate changes and their impacts') were backed under the 'Life sciences, genomics and biotechnology for health' Thematic area of the EU's Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) to the tune of almost EUR 10 million and EUR 15 million, respectively.

Global warming is affecting Earth and its resources © Shutterstock
Global warming is affecting Earth and its resources
©  Shutterstock

If the model is correct in its prediction, that is if the warming of temperatures is up to three degrees (above the 1961–1900 average) within the next 38 years, it will be the fastest rate of warming ever.

'It's only by running such a large number of simulations — with model versions deliberately chosen to display a range of behaviour — that you can get a handle on the uncertainty present in a complex system such as our climate,' said lead author Dr Dan Rowlands from the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. 'Our work was only possible because thousands of people donated their home computer time to run these simulations.'

For his part, Professor Myles Allen of Oxford's School of Geography and Environment, as well as the Department of Physics, said: 'Most forecasts of global warming are based on the range of results that different groups around the world happen to contribute to a model comparison. These groups don't set out to explore the full range of uncertainty, which is why studies like ours are needed.'

Researchers the world over have been quantifying and making every effort to shed light on the consequence of climate uncertainties for future projections, said Ben Booth of the Met Office Hadley Centre in the United Kingdom and one of the authors of the paper.

'Perhaps the most ambitious effort to date, this work illustrates how the citizen science movement is making an important contribution to this field,' said Dr Booth.

Such ensembles are an innovative tool for researchers to investigate what could happen in the future. They can also 'provide an exciting new resource for the climate adaptation and impact communities,' said co-author Professor Dave Frame of Victoria University of Wellington, Visiting Fellow of Oxford University's Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment.


Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use the search box at the top of the page to the right of the menu and then select "Information Centre" in the "Filter by" menu on the results page.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also

Nature Geoscience
University of Oxford





  Top   Research Information Center