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 September 19, 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 September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

Raw: Wildfires in CA Burn Forest Asunder

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) An out-of-control Northern California wildfire has nearly 2,800 people from their homes as it continues to grow, authorities said Thursday. Authorities said a man has been arrested on suspicion of arson for starting the fire on Saturday. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
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