Satellite measurements indicate that global warming is more likely to warm the planet much more than previously thought, by about 8 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, says a NASA-funded study published in the journal Science, reports Brian Vastag at the Washington Post. That means a world with drastically higher seas, disappearing coastlines and more severe droughts, floods and other destructive weather. Such an increase would substantially overshoot what the world’s leaders have identified as the threshold for triggering catastrophic consequences. In 2009, heads of state agreed to try to limit warming to 3.6 degrees, and many countries want a tighter limit. The study is part of a quickening trend to improve climate simulations. Previously, climate models gave a wide range of warming estimates, because estimating cloud cover was difficult, yet cloud cover greatly influences warming. In the new study, scientists tackled this problem by recognizing that relative humidity helps predict cloud cover. Looking at climate models that best predicted the atmospheric humidity shown in satellite images over the past decade, scientists found that these models were also ones that predicted the most extreme warming.
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Warmer still: Extreme climate predictions appear most accurate, report says. Climate scientists agree the Earth will be hotter by the end of the century, but their simulations don’t agree on how much. Now a study suggests the gloomier predictions may be closer to the mark. Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/warmer-still-extreme-climate-predictions-appear-most-accurate-study-says/2012/11/08/ebd075c6-29c7-11e2-96b6-8e6a7524553f_story.html?hpid=z4