[New Scientist]: Global warming looks set to be much worse than previously forecast, according to new research. Ironically, the crucial evidence is how little warming there has been so far.
It turns out, according to these researchers that reducing pollution reduces ‘sun-blocking smoke, dust and other polluting particles put into the air by human activity.’ Less pollution > less sun blocking > more sunn > more warming. The researchers (leading authors from the UN‰s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) now project warming by at least 6ÁC by 2100 – ‘substantially above the current predictions of 1.5 to 4.5ÁC’
How seriously ‘not good’ is that?
It is so far outside the range covered by our experience and scientific understanding that we cannot with any confidence predict the consequences for the Earth.
The cooling effect of aerosols has been known for some time. But, says Andreae, past assessments have underestimated its influence. Because of this, they have also underestimated the sensitivity of the atmosphere to the warming effect of greenhouse gases….
[T]he cooling aerosols only stay in the air for a few days, whereas the warming gases stick around for decades or centuries. So while the cooling effect is unlikely to grow much, the gases will accumulate and have an ever-bigger effect on global temperature.
The world, says one of the authors, is ‘driving the climate with one foot on the gas and the other on the brake. When the brake comes off, it makes a hell of a difference.’
Hmm. What about taking that foot off the gas too?