Climate Change

World to breach 1.5°C threshold by 2027-2042: Study

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had estimated global warming threshold will cross between 2020 and 2052 

By DTE Staff
Published: Tuesday 22 December 2020
World will breach 1.5°C global warming threshold by 2027-2042. Photo: Pixabay

The world will heat up more than it can take much earlier than anticipated, a group of researchers said. The planet will breach the threshold of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels between 2027 and 2042, they said.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had estimated that breach to occur between now and 2052. 

Researchers from McGill University, however, claimed to have introduced a more precise way to project the Earth’s temperature based on historical climate data instead of theoretical relationships, thereby increasing scope for more accurate calculations as well as predictions.

The study was published in Climate Dynamics December 18, 2020, according to which prediction model deployed reduced uncertainties by half compared to the approach used by the IPCC.

The IPCC uses the General Circulation Models (GCM) to express wide ranges in overall temperature projections. This makes it difficult to circle outcomes in different climate mitigation scenarios. For example, an IPCC model would predict a temperature increase of a massive range — between 1.9oC  and 4.5oC — if carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is doubled. 

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Climate models are mathematical simulations of different factors that interact to affect Earth’s climate, such as the atmosphere, ocean, ice, land surface and the sun. The data is tricky, and predictions can more often than not be inaccurate.  

“Our approach allows climate sensitivity and its uncertainty to be estimated from direct observations with few assumptions,” said co-author Raphaël Hébert, a former graduate researcher at McGill University.

The researchers also found that expected warming was a little lower in this period by about 10 to 15 per cent.

“Climate sceptics have argued that global warming projections are unreliable because they depend on faulty supercomputer models. While these criticisms are unwarranted, they underscore the need for independent and different approaches to predicting future warming,” said co-author Bruno Tremblay, a professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at McGill University.

Shaun Lovejoy, professor in the Physics Department at McGill University said world leaders must stop claiming that their government’s weak policies could avert climate change.

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