National Geographic reports that new studies reveal that the worst case scenario for climate change may be imminent. There are many predictions regarding climate change, but it seems that the worst case scenario is proving to be the most accurate one.
Scientists are now studying the effect of clouds on the weather, especially in light of the recent Hurrican Sandy catastrophe. It seems that the storm became so destructive because of the hot ocean temperatures over the Gulf Stream that it only increased the impact of the storm. The flooding was also made worse by the fact that the sea levels have risen due to the melting glaciers in the Arctic.
The journal “Science” published a study on the matter, showing that the most recent research all points to the worst case scenario. The study was lead by John Fasullo and Kevin Trenberth, who studied the climate change and the humidity patterns worldwide. The two scientists are with the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado.
The study was undertaken in order to create an accurate prediction regarding the future of the world’s climate. The Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels are likely to double before the end of the century, which pushes a pressing question: How much warmer will the climate be if this happens?
They predict that there might be a 2.8 degrees Celsius in the equilibrium of climate sensitivity by the end of 2100. This means that the weather is likely to take a turn for the worst: there will be more instances of extreme weather and the sea levels may rise even further, creating larger impacts on the areas. There will be more cases of flooding and super typhoons.
Trenberth and Fasullo decided to study the clouds to see how they affect the climate. Clouds have always had a rather questionable status in the study of climate change because scientists are unsure whether they affect it directly.
However, it seems that clouds are more important than originally believed: Fasullo says that clouds are great ways to tell whether or not the temperatures will rise. They are also used as a tool to determine how much it will rise in the future.
The reason behind this is that clouds are part of the natural heat barrier of the earth. Their white colour actually reflects sunlight and depending on how high they are in the atmosphere, they can also act as a blanket that retains heat.
Using this information, scientists would be able to determine just how much the temperatures on the Earth are bound to change. However, since clouds change shape, size, and brightness fairly quickly, creating a climate change model around them is extremely difficult. Since the data is always changing, they could create problems in the long run because they would not be as accurate as originally hoped. To help counteract this, the two scientists measure humidity instead of the actual clouds themselves.