Global warming is likely to speed up as the Earth becomes increasingly more sensitive to atmospheric CO? concentrations, scientists from the University of Reading have warned.
In a new study, published this week in the prestigious journal PNAS, the scientists explain that the influence of increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 on global warming will become more severe over time because the patterns of warming of the Earth’s surface will lead to reduced cloud cover in some sensitive regions and less heat being able to escape into space.
The findings are supported by observations, suggesting that forecasts made by climate models evaluated by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are realistic.
Paulo Ceppi, researcher at the University of Reading and lead author of the study, said: “This resemblance of computer simulations to observations increases our confidence in projections that the climate sensitivity to the progressive rise in carbon dioxide concentrations will increase over time into the future.”
Evidence suggests that the upper level of the Earth’s atmosphere warms faster than the surface in response to CO? levels. However, the new study shows that as CO? levels increase further, the rate of warming in the upper levels slows in comparison with that closer to the Earth’s surface.
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Image Source: University of Reading.