Research suggests future global warming has been underestimated

Nov. 25, 2013 at 5:17 PM
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ZURICH, Switzerland, Nov. 25 (UPI) -- Global warming could go on for centuries even with a complete stop of CO2 emissions and then stabilize at an even higher temperature, a Swiss scientist says.

Researcher Thomas Frolicher says computer models contradict the assumption by many scientists that global warming would come to an end if, some day, humans succeed in ending the release of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

Frolicher and U.S. colleagues report they've used a model that represents physical and biogeochemical processes -- such as the exchange of greenhouse gases and heat with the oceans -- at a far more detailed level than many previous models.

To date, they said, not enough attention has been given to the regional heat uptake of the world's oceans in climate research.

"The model is closer to reality," Frolicher said in a release from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich.

The possibility that climate change is even greater than previously thought cannot be ruled out, he said.

In the long term, he said, the temperature increase could be 25 percent greater than assumed today.

"If our results stand up to a repetition with other modern and detailed models, this would mean that global warming considered beyond the end of this century has been significantly underestimated to date," Frolicher said.

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