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Showing posts from June, 2012

Media coverage of a future, warmer world

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A fascinating scientific study exploring how the planet responds to greenhouse gas forcing was recently reported in the prestigious journal Science. The research by Andreas Schmittner at Oregon University and colleagues, looked at global climate during the last ice age. The idea was to use a concept known as ‘climate sensitivity’ to try to gain some sort of insight into how the world will warm with a doubling of greenhouse gas levels. To do this the team took a two-pronged approach. On the one hand, they used natural measures of past climate preserved in ice, lake sediments, trees and the ocean floor to reconstruct the world’s temperature 20,000 years ago. Alongside this, a series of computer model runs were also made for an ice age world with relatively low amounts of greenhouse gases; the precise levels known from bubbles trapped in ancient Antarctic ice. The climate sensitivity was tweaked in each run until the modelled temperatures best matched those found in the ice age reconstru…