The rate of Global Warming is accelerating at a faster pace and will continue to warm for decades to come. That is the alarming conclusion in a letter written by climate researchers to the scientific journal Nature last April and just published after being reviewed for accuracy by the editors.
This means the planet's climate has probably passed the dreaded "Tipping Point" scientists have warned us about for many years. Positive feedback loops are becoming the dominant driver of Global Warming, surpassing human inputs from our GHG emissions.
Near-term acceleration in the rate of temperature change
By Steven J. Smith, James Edmond, Corinne A. Hartin, Anupriya Mundra & Katherine Calvin
Anthropogenically driven climate changes, which are expected to impact human and natural systems, are often expressed in terms of global-mean temperature1. The rate of climate change over multi-decadal scales is also important, with faster rates of change resulting in less time for human and natural systems to adapt2. We find that present trends in greenhouse-gas and aerosol emissions are now moving the Earth system into a regime in terms of multi-decadal rates of change that are unprecedented for at least the past 1,000 years. The rate of global-mean temperature increase in the CMIP5 (ref. 3) archive over 40-year periods increases to 0.25 ± 0.05 °C (1σ) per decade by 2020, an average greater than peak rates of change during the previous one to two millennia. Regional rates of change in Europe, North America and the Arctic are higher than the global average. Research on the impacts of such near-term rates of change is urgently needed.
Global warming rates are about to hit the gas, researchers findWe've reached that "Oh Shit!" moment when our predicament has taken on so much momentum that it will continue to get worse for decades to come at an accelerated pace.
By Susannah L. Bodman
Their work explored the rates of change in global-mean temperatures in 40-year periods extending through 2020, based on past climate records and future projections.
What they found, as mentioned in the quote above, is that rates of global warming are set to accelerate at a pace not seen for thousands of years.
Climate data for the past millennium show that global temperatures have fluctuated by 0.2 degrees Fahrenheit each decade. In the past 40 years, the trend's ramped up, angling toward 0.4 degrees Fahrenheit per decade but remaining roughly within historical boundaries.
However, the researchers project that will change in the next five years (2020), with warming rates surpassing what's been seen in the past 1,000 years -- and perhaps even the past 2,000. If greenhouse gas emissions continue at current levels, rates will keep rising to hit 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit per decade. The researchers expect the warming rates to continue to be that high through 2100.
World regions that can expect to be the first to experience these accelerated warming trends will be the Arctic, North America and Europe.
And in using a timescale of 40 years, the researchers put the results into a context relevant to "the lifetime of much of human infrastructure," they wrote. And in terms of human socio-economic infrastructure, the implication is time is of the essence for Arctic dwellers, North Americans and Europeans to start thinking about adaptation planning.