CLIMATE WARMING

Warming our world

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Science  12 Aug 2016:
Vol. 353, Issue 6300, pp. 661-662
DOI: 10.1126/science.353.6300.661-f

How much will human emissions of carbon dioxide cause global temperatures to rise? The magnitude of that warming depends a great deal on the response of clouds: If clouds reflect more sunlight back into space, warming will be reduced, but if they reflect less, warming will be greater. Brient and Schneider use satellite data to show that low clouds over tropical oceans will reflect less shortwave radiation as surface waters warm, supporting estimates of climate sensitivity to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations on the higher end of the existing range, and that this behavior will make it unlikely that global temperature rise can be capped at less than the common target of 2.0°C.

J. Clim. 10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0897.1 (2016).

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