Rising CO2 levels could have 'very severe' global impact, according to the latest research
-Scientists are getting closer to working out the exact impact that increasing levels of CO2 will have on climate change.
-The research has led to increased certainty that global warming could bring very severe impacts and risks worldwide.
-These advances provide a much more solid base of evidence on which climate change policy can be further developed.
At the dawn of the industrial revolution, the Earth’s atmosphere contained 278 parts of CO₂ per million. Today, after more than two and a half centuries of fossil fuel use, that figure is around 414 parts per million (ppm). If the build-up of CO₂ continues at current rates, by 2060 it will have passed 560 ppm – more than double the level of pre-industrial times.
Exactly how the climate will respond to all this extra CO₂ is one of the central questions in climate science. Just how much will the climate actually change?
A major new international assessment of the Earth’s climate sensitivity, now published in the journal Reviews of Geophysics, addresses this question. This research has improved our understanding of how much the world will eventually warm if the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is maintained at double the level of pre-industrial times.
While an exact figure is still not possible, low levels of warming are now found to be far less likely than previously thought. Very high values are slightly less likely too.
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