A new study on environmental changes suggests that our future may be warmer than we thought — 4 degrees C warmer, to be exact. That's how much hotter the planet will be in 2100, as a result of changes in cloud cover. And this could prove catastrophic for human life.
Over at the Guardian, Damian Carrington notes that the 4 C rise is "twice what the world's governments deem dangerous" and is a higher estimate than what we've seen before from climate experts. That's because this new climate model accounts for changes in cloud cover:
The research indicates that fewer clouds form as the planet warms, meaning less sunlight is reflected back into space, driving temperatures up further still. The way clouds affect global warming has been the biggest mystery surrounding future climate change.
Professor Steven Sherwood, at the University of New South Wales, in Australia, who led the new work, said: "This study breaks new ground twice: first by identifying what is controlling the cloud changes and second by strongly discounting the lowest estimates of future global warming in favour of the higher and more damaging estimates."
"4C would likely be catastrophic rather than simply dangerous," Sherwood told the Guardian. "For example, it would make life difficult, if not impossible, in much of the tropics, and would guarantee the eventual melting of the Greenland ice sheet and some of the Antarctic ice sheet", with sea levels rising by many metres as a result.
You may want to check what this will mean for your city, by looking at sea level rise projections using the Drown Your Town app.
Read the full story at the Guardian