Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Adaptive-Decision Strategy Offsets Uncertainties In Climate Sensitivity

Date:
October 3, 2001
Source:
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign
Summary:
The uncertainty of climate change because of global warming is much greater than previously thought, and as a result, policy-makers should adopt a robust, adaptive-decision strategy to cope with potential consequences, researchers at the University of Illinois say.

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — The uncertainty of climate change because of global warming is much greater than previously thought, and as a result, policy-makers should adopt a robust, adaptive-decision strategy to cope with potential consequences, researchers at the University of Illinois say.

As will be reported in the Oct. 16 issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research, UI atmospheric scientists Natalia Andronova and Michael Schlesinger found there is a 54 percent chance that climate sensitivity lies outside the 1.5 to 4.5 degree Centigrade range announced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“This is definitely not good news,” Schlesinger said. “If the climate sensitivity is greater than the IPCC’s upper bound, climate change could be one of humanity’s most severe problems of the 21st century. If, however, it is less than the lower bound, then climate change may not be a serious problem for humanity.”

In a study supported by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Energy, the researchers used a simple climate/ocean model and the observed near-surface temperature record to estimate the probability distribution for climate sensitivity. For each of 16 radiative-forcing models, the changes in global-mean near-surface temperature were calculated for the years 1765 through 1997. The radiative-forcing models included greenhouse gases, anthropogenic sulfate aerosol, volcanoes and solar irradiance. The researchers found that, as a result of natural variability and uncertainty in the radiative forcing, it is 90 percent likely that climate sensitivity lies between 1 and 10 degrees Centigrade.

While some scientists have argued that the IPCC should assign subjective probabilities to its various scenarios of future climate change, Schlesinger and colleague Robert Lempert (of the Rand Corp.) disagree. Optimization plans should not be based upon subjective probabilities because “decision-makers must form a climate policy acceptable to groups with many different, yet plausible, estimates of the likelihood of alternative futures,” the two researchers wrote in the July 26 issue of the journal Nature.

The large uncertainties associated with the climate-change problem can make conventional policy prescriptions unreliable, Schlesinger said. “It could take a fair fraction of a century to acquire enough observations to significantly reduce the level of uncertainty, and by then it may be too late to do anything about it. By using an adaptive-decision strategy, however, we can observe the damages due to climate change, and the rate of change of the cost differential between fossil fuels and non-fossil fuels. Depending upon what we see, we can alter what we do.”

By objectively estimating the likelihood of the climate sensitivity having any particular value – that is, by its probability distribution – the crafting of robust, adaptive climate-change policy could be greatly facilitated, Schlesinger said. “Such a strategy could also aid in the negotiation process, because decision-makers could make more reasonable and defensible choices about climate-change policy without requiring highly accurate or widely accepted predictions of the future.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Adaptive-Decision Strategy Offsets Uncertainties In Climate Sensitivity." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/10/011003064020.htm>.
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. (2001, October 3). Adaptive-Decision Strategy Offsets Uncertainties In Climate Sensitivity. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/10/011003064020.htm
University Of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign. "Adaptive-Decision Strategy Offsets Uncertainties In Climate Sensitivity." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/10/011003064020.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

San Diego Zoo's White Rhinos Provide Hope for the Critically Endangered Species

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 22, 2014) — The pair of rare white northern rhinos bring hope for their species as only six remain in the world. Elly Park reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Trick-or-Treating Banned Because of Polar Bears

Buzz60 (Oct. 21, 2014) — Mother Nature is pulling a trick on the kids of Arviat, Canada. As Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) tells us, the effects of global warming caused the town to ban trick-or-treating this Halloween. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

Traditional Farming Methods Gaining Ground in Mali

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) — He is leading a one man agricultural revolution in Mali - Oumar Diatabe uses traditional farming methods to get the most out of his land and is teaching others across the country how to do the same. Duration: 01:44 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

How Detroit's Money Woes Led To U.N.-Condemned Water Cutoffs

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — The United Nations says water is a human right, but should it be free? Detroit has cut off water to residents who can't pay, and the U.N. isn't happy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins