Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate change target 'not safe', researchers say

Date:
October 3, 2010
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
An analysis of geological records that preserve details of the last known period of global warming has revealed "startling" results which suggest current targets for limiting climate change are unsafe.

An analysis of geological records that preserve details of the last known period of global warming has revealed 'startling' results which suggest current targets for limiting climate change are unsafe.

The study by climate change experts at the University of Exeter has important implications for international negotiators aiming to agree binding targets for future greenhouse gas emission targets.

Professor Chris Turney and Dr Richard Jones, both from the University's Department of Geography, have reported a comprehensive study of the Last Interglacial, a period of warming some 125,000 years ago, in the latest issue of the Journal of Quaternary Science.

The results reveal the European Union target of limiting global temperature rise to less than 2C above pre-industrial levels shouldn't be considered 'safe'.

From their analysis, the scientists found 263 estimates of the conditions when sediments and ice were laid down during the Last Interglacial, allowing them to reconstruct past temperatures around the globe. To compare the reconstructed estimates with today, they took the Last Interglacial values away from modern temperatures averaged over the period 1961 to 1990.

The results show temperatures appear to have been more than 5˚C warmer in polar regions while the tropics only warmed marginally; strikingly similar to recent trends. Not only this, but taken together, the world appears to have been some 1.9˚C warmer when compared to preindustrial temperatures. Critically, the warmer temperatures appear to have resulted in global sea levels some 6.6 to 9.4 metres higher than today, with a rate of rise of between 60 to 90 centimetres per decade -- more than double that recently observed.

The higher temperatures seen during the Last Interglacial are comparable to projections for the end of this century under the low emission scenarios contained within the recent Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Professor Turney said: "The results here are quite startling and, importantly, they suggest sea levels will rise significantly higher than anticipated and that stabilizing global average temperatures at 2˚C above pre-industrial levels may not be considered a 'safe' target as envisaged by the European Union and others. The inevitable conclusion is emission targets will have to be lowered further still."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chris S.M. Turney, Richard T. Jones. Does the Agulhas Current amplify global temperatures during super-interglacials? Journal of Quaternary Science, 2010; 25 (6): 839 DOI: 10.1002/jqs.1423

Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Climate change target 'not safe', researchers say." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 October 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101001144037.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2010, October 3). Climate change target 'not safe', researchers say. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101001144037.htm
University of Exeter. "Climate change target 'not safe', researchers say." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101001144037.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. 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:
from the past week

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