27 Feb
Scientists: Earth Quickly Approaching Warming Threshold Scientists: Earth Quickly Approaching Warming Threshold

Scientists: Earth Quickly Approaching Warming Threshold

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Things are heating up climate-wise faster than previously thought.

And the quickening pace of global warming isn't just another statistic, warn Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo. While 2015 logged in as the warmest on record (average yearly temperatures were almost 2 degrees Fahrenheit higher than during the era before the Industrial Revolution), the uptick in temperature might actually be higher than initially measured -- which would put the planet more than halfway toward a limit that was established in Paris last year to warn against warming that could possibly result in world-wide catastrophe.

The limit in question was set at 2 degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. However, NCAR scientist Gerald Meehl says that the Earth has moved well past the halfway point, or 1 degree Celsius, that last year's uptick represents.

According to a report in the Boulder Daily Camera, "Given the physics of Earth's climate system, warming continues well after greenhouse gases are put into the atmosphere. That is because the oceans keep warming for decades in response to greenhouse gases that already have entered the atmosphere. That makes for a lag in the climate system."

Meehl tells the Camera that this means the Earth already has warmed by at least another half a degree Celsius. Which puts the planet 75% of the way toward the 2 degree Celsius cap, not just halfway there.

Even so, that doesn't guarantee an inevitable rise to the cap, says Meehl.

"It's still avoidable, but we have a very narrow window of opportunity (a couple of decades) and it's closing fast. The longer we wait, the harder it will be to achieve that target."

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Read 1855 times Last modified on Sunday, 21 February 2016 02:35
Jim Lillie

Jim began writing for newspapers and designing for publishing companies at a time when both industries were just beginning to make the switch from manual to digital platforms. Jim lives in Boulder, Colorado with his teenage son.

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