FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Climate Study Finds Earth Warming Faster Than Previously Thought

A climate research study run out of Oxford University in the UK has found that the Earth's climate is warming much faster and more drastically than previously believed, and that the planet's average temperature could increase anywhere from 2 to 11 degrees Celsius (36 to 52 degress F) over the next century.

"I think these results suggest that our need to do something about climate change is perhaps even more urgent," David Stainforth, the chief scientist in the study, says. "However, with our current state of knowledge, we can't yet define a safe level [of carbon dioxide] in the atmosphere."

Results from the study indicate that atmospheric carbon dioxide levels at 400 ppm would be considered "dangerous," though there's no consensus on what "dangerous" really means. The current level of CO2 in the atmosphere is 378 ppm, and rising at a rate of 2 ppm per year. By that reckoning, the Earth will reach that "dangerous" level in 11 years, assuming the increases remain steady.

ClimatePrediction.net uses a distributed comptuing model similar to that of SETI, where volunteers can add their PCs to the grid for running climate simulations. The network includes 95,000 computers from over 150 countries.

Sources: BBC, Slashdot