Failure to reduce carbon dioxide emission can cause global temperatures to rise by a minimum of 4°C by 2100. (Photo : Reuters)
Global temperature averages are expected to increase by 4 °C by the year 2100 if carbon dioxide emissions aren't reduced according to a news release issued by the University of New South Wales.
The discovery was also published in a recent edition of the journal Nature.
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Temperatures could increase by a total of 8°C by 2200, according to the news release.
Scientists believe that the news may also solve the role cloud formations have on global climate change, and whether it's negative or positive.
"Our research has shown climate models indicating a low temperature response to a doubling of carbon dioxide from preindustrial times are not reproducing the correct processes that lead to cloud formation," said Professor Steven Sherwood, from the University of New South Wales' Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, in a statement, according to the news release. "When the processes are correct in the climate models the level of climate sensitivity is far higher."
The researchers came to their conclusion after analyzing water vapor in cloud formations.
When water evaporates, it either moves about nine miles up to form rainclouds or only rises a few kilometers without forming a single cloud, according to the study.
If the water only rises a few kilometers, it pulls vapor "away from the clouds" at a much higher level, which reduces the overall "cloud cover."
"Previously, estimates of the sensitivity of global temperature to a doubling of carbon dioxide ranged from 1.5°C to 5°C," said Sherwood. "This new research takes away the lower end of climate sensitivity estimates, meaning that global average temperatures will increase by 3°C to 5°C with a doubling of carbon dioxide."
When climate models were adjusted to match observations in the "real world," computer simulations apparently made cycles that took water vapor higher in the atmosphere, which "caused fewer clouds to form," according to the news release.
This essentially increased the amount of heat and sunlight.
"Rises in global average temperatures of this magnitude will have profound impacts on the world and the economies of many countries if we don't urgently start to curb our emissions," said Sherwood.