Published today, Tuesday 5 July, in IOP Publishing's journal Environmental Research Letters, the study has revealed the potentially devastating effects that high carbon emissions could have on our climate.
Little attention has previously been paid to the upper bound range of future emissions which, as the researchers state, is imperative when testing the outcomes of climate change simulations.
The A1FI scenario, considered in the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), represents the upper bound of predicted carbon emissions.
The researchers, from the National Centre for Atmospheric Research, Colorado, and the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, Zurich, created two hypothetical high carbon emission scenarios and compared their effects to the existing emission scenarios.
The first scenario created, CurrentMix, assumed that global energy behaviour would remain constant but that the global population would rise to 11 billion by 2100. The increase in carbon emissions envisaged in the A1FI scenario would be doubled by the end of the century.
The second scenario, AllCoal, was designed as a thought experiment to exceed all likely emissions for the remainder of the century.
This scenario assumed that the global population would increase to 15 billion by 2100 and that demand for fuel sources would increase, with more demand placed on coal – the fuel with the highest amount of carbon per unit of energy. This would result in four times the increase in carbon emissions envisaged in the A1FI scenario.
According to the researchers' computer simulations, the major differences between each scenario would begin to materialise towards the end of the 21st century.
By 2100, the AllCoal and CurrentMix scenarios would produce a warming of over 12 Kelvin (K) in the Arctic regions, with global sea levels rising by 33 cm and 27 cm respectively due to the thermal expansion of the oceans.
The A1FI scenario showed a 21 cm increase in sea levels; however the figures did not account for melting ice-sheets, which could increase sea levels by large amounts. The AllCoal scenario projected a complete loss of summer Arctic sea ice by 2070.
Each of the scenarios showed the typical pattern of increased rainfall towards the poles and drying subtropics. For example, the AllCoal scenario showed a 30-80 per cent precipitation reduction in Southern Europe, Central America, and Southern Australia as well as increases of 50-200 per cent in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, Northern Canada and Siberia.
The increase in most regions' maximum temperatures went up by a factor of two in the AllCoal scenario; however some regions showed a considerably larger increase. In particular, the maximum summer temperatures in Northern Europe increased by 6-7 K by 2100.
Lead author Dr Ben Sanderson said, "Our study considered a future in which fossil fuel availability is completely unrestricted and climate change is unmitigated, resulting in significant additional warming above the entire range of scenarios considered in the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC."
"This study showed us that the model behaves on a global scale largely as we would expect."
From Tuesday 5 July, this journal paper can be found at http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/6/3/034005
Notes to Editors
Contact1. For further information, a full draft of the journal paper or contact with one of the researchers, contact IOP Press Assistant, Michael Bishop:
2. The published version of the paper "The response of the climate system to very high greenhouse gas emission scenarios" (Benjamin M Sanderson et al 2011 Environ. Res. Lett. 6 034005) will be freely available online from Tuesday 5 July. It will be available at http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/6/3/034005
Environmental Research Letters
3. Environmental Research Letters is an open access journal that covers all of environmental science, providing a coherent and integrated approach including research articles, perspectives and editorials.
4. IOP Publishing provides publications through which leading-edge scientific research is distributed worldwide. IOP Publishing is central to the Institute of Physics (IOP), a not-for-profit society. Any financial surplus earned by IOP Publishing goes to support science through the activities of IOP.Beyond our traditional journals programme, we make high-value scientific information easily accessible through an ever-evolving portfolio of community websites, magazines, conference proceedings and a multitude of electronic services. Focused on making the most of new technologies, we're continually improving our electronic interfaces to make it easier for researchers to find exactly what they need, when they need it, in the format that suits them best. Go to http://publishing.iop.org/.
The Institute of Physics
5. The Institute of Physics is a leading scientific society promoting physics and bringing physicists together for the benefit of all.
It has a worldwide membership of around 40 000 comprising physicists from all sectors, as well as those with an interest in physics. It works to advance physics research, application and education; and engages with policymakers and the public to develop awareness and understanding of physics. Its publishing company, IOP Publishing, is a world leader in professional scientific communications. Go to www.iop.org
Michael Bishop | EurekAlert!
Further reports about: > Arctic > Atmospheric > Climate change > CurrentMix > Environmental Research > IPCC > Letters > Researchers > carbon emission > climate system > computer simulation > emission scenarios > environmental risk > gas emission > global population > global sea level > greenhouse gas > greenhouse gas emission > sea level
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...
Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.
Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
19.09.2017 | Event News
19.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
19.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering