Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Climate change to continue to year 3000 in best case scenarios, research predicts

Date:
January 10, 2011
Source:
University of Calgary
Summary:
New research indicates the impact of rising carbon dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere will cause unstoppable effects to the climate for at least the next 1,000 years.

The Pine Island Glacier (PIG) meets the Amundsen Sea. The West Antarctic Ice Sheet is highly unstable. Ocean warming of up to 5C off of Antarctica is likely to trigger widespread collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet.
Credit: Galen Dossin/National Science Foundation

New research indicates the impact of rising CO2 levels in Earth's atmosphere will cause unstoppable effects to the climate for at least the next 1000 years, causing researchers to estimate a collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet by the year 3000, and an eventual rise in the global sea level of at least four metres.

The study, to be published in the Jan. 9 advanced online publication of the journal Nature Geoscience, is the first full climate model simulation to make predictions out to 1000 years from now. It is based on best-case, 'zero-emissions' scenarios constructed by a team of researchers from the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis (an Environment Canada research lab at the University of Victoria) and the University of Calgary.

"We created 'what if' scenarios," says Dr. Shawn Marshall, Canada Research Chair in Climate Change and University of Calgary geography professor. "What if we completely stopped using fossil fuels and put no more CO2 in the atmosphere? How long would it then take to reverse current climate change trends and will things first become worse?" The research team explored zero-emissions scenarios beginning in 2010 and in 2100.

The Northern Hemisphere fares better than the south in the computer simulations, with patterns of climate change reversing within the 1000-year timeframe in places like Canada. At the same time parts of North Africa experience desertification as land dries out by up to 30 percent, and ocean warming of up to 5C off of Antarctica is likely to trigger widespread collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet, a region the size of the Canadian prairies.

Researchers hypothesize that one reason for the variability between the North and South is the slow movement of ocean water from the North Atlantic into the South Atlantic. "The global ocean and parts of the Southern Hemisphere have much more inertia, such that change occurs more slowly," says Marshall. "The inertia in intermediate and deep ocean currents driving into the Southern Atlantic means those oceans are only now beginning to warm as a result of CO2 emissions from the last century. The simulation showed that warming will continue rather than stop or reverse on the 1000-year time scale."

Wind currents in the Southern Hemisphere may also have an impact. Marshall says that winds in the global south tend to strengthen and stay strong without reversing. "This increases the mixing in the ocean, bringing more heat from the atmosphere down and warming the ocean."

Researchers will next begin to investigate more deeply the impact of atmosphere temperature on ocean temperature to help determine the rate at which West Antarctica could destabilize and how long it may take to fully collapse into the water.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Nathan P. Gillett, Vivek K. Arora, Kirsten Zickfeld, Shawn J. Marshall & William J. Merryfield. Ongoing climate change following a complete cessation of carbon dioxide emissions. Nature Geoscience, 09 January 2011 DOI: 10.1038/ngeo1047

Cite This Page:

University of Calgary. "Climate change to continue to year 3000 in best case scenarios, research predicts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 January 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110109184025.htm>.
University of Calgary. (2011, January 10). Climate change to continue to year 3000 in best case scenarios, research predicts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110109184025.htm
University of Calgary. "Climate change to continue to year 3000 in best case scenarios, research predicts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110109184025.htm (accessed April 19, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) Operators of recreational businesses on western reservoirs worry that ongoing drought concerns will keep boaters and other visitors from flocking to the popular summer attractions. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Ark. Man Finds 6-Carat Diamond At State Park

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) An Arkansas man has found a nearly 6.2-carat diamond, which he dubbed "The Limitless Diamond," at the Crater of Diamonds State Park. 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