Archive by category | Climate prediction

The real holes in climate science

When I started working last month on a news feature about gaps in climate science I was expecting a tough reporting job. Too fresh, so I thought, were the scars the field and many leading scientists had received from the hacking affair at the Climate Research Unit (CRU) in Norwich to readily discuss with a reporter the ‘dirty laundry’ (my phrase) of climate science.  Read more

4 Degrees and Beyond: How soon is it coming?

Unless major breakthroughs in policy, industry and individual behavior turn around our emissions trajectory pronto, this century could well see average global temperatures 4 degrees Celsius or more above their pre-industrial baseline. That’s the starting point for the 4 Degrees and Beyond conference in Oxford this week. Here, 130 scientists and policy experts are taking a detailed look at a world warmed by twice the amount that’s usually considered dangerous.  Read more

WCC-3: Global ‘climate services’ framework agreed, but long process ahead

Heads of state agreed yesterday in Geneva to establish a global framework to deliver climate services to society. “We agreed on the need for climate services across all nations”, says Martin Visbeck, chair of the committee of scientific experts to the World Climate Conference.  Read more

Why a climate crisis is like an epileptic seizure

Why a climate crisis is like an epileptic seizure

Tipping points – those critical thresholds in a complex system where a small nudge can cause a catastrophic response – are perhaps the most fearsome threats to the Earth’s climate, but they also haunt ecosystems, financial markets, and even sufferers of medical conditions such as epilepsy and asthma. A fascinating review in Nature today (subscription) sketches out the mathematical patterns on which many of these instances seem to be based, and describes giveaway signs that might warn us to change course before the system tips.  Read more

Unknown climate culprit for Palaeocene-Eocene warming

Unknown climate culprit for Palaeocene-Eocene warming

A reconstruction of the Earth’s climatic history during a key hot period 55 million years ago has highlighted a yawning gap in our understanding: this period’s rise in carbon dioxide accounts for just half of its warming. Some as-yet-unidentified climate feedbacks could be at work, the scientists behind the research conclude.  Read more

Focussing on sea level

Focussing on sea level

Nature Geoscience’s latest issue highlights the challenges of understanding fluctuating sea level – from 70 million years ago to the future (sea level content free to registered users). A collection of commentaries and research papers look at how sea level has changed in the past and try to project its future evolution. In addition, the issue provides insights into some of the societal impacts of sea level change, and how some countries are planning for the future.  Read more