Climate change: Predicted increase in temperature doubled

Global climate experiment shows alarming results

Temperature increase in the simulation © Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
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Increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases could increase global temperatures by more than double what was previously thought to be the highest. This is the result of the world's largest climate change prediction experiment, climateprediction.net, now published in the journal Nature.

Climateprediction.net is a global experiment in which unused computer time is used by schools, individuals, or businesses over the Internet to predict the climate of the future through complex calculations and simulations from the vast amounts of data. The experiment was initiated and developed by a merger of several British universities and research institutes.

So far, more than 95, 000 people in 150 countries have participated in the project by downloading the software from the network. This works on the principle of a screen saver whenever the computer is not otherwise busy. Over a period of days or weeks, the software calculates a climate scenario for each of them and transmits the results back to the climate researchers at Oxford University and the institutions cooperating worldwide.

First results surprising

The first results now show that average temperatures could even rise by up to 11 ° C - even if atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are limited to "only" twice the levels found before the Industrial Revolution. According to the climate experts, these concentrations could be reached as early as the middle of this century, unless significant cuts in emissions occur.

David Stainforth, senior scientist at climateprediction.net at Oxford University, explains, "Our experiment shows that rising concentrations of greenhouse gases could have far greater impact on the climate than previously thought." Project coordinator David Frame adds: "The likelihood is so high Reactions to the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has far-reaching importance. If in reality the values ​​are even close to those in our model, even today's greenhouse gas concentrations could be dangerously high. "Ad

To be continued, to participate ...

In view of these surprising results, climate researchers in Oxford are calling for further participation in this project. So far, more than four million model years have been calculated and more than 8, 000 years of computer time donated yet to confirm the current results, further modeling needs to be done.

"After finding out that these extreme reactions are a realistic possibility, we need more people than ever to more accurately calculate the risk of such warming and the regional ones Understand the implications, "says Stainforth. The ongoing experiment makes it possible for anyone to participate in a research that affects us all.

(Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), 28.01.2005 - NPO)