Climate change more rapid than ever

September 30, 2005

According to the calculations of scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, over the next century the climate will change more quickly than it ever has in the recent history of the earth. These results come from the latest climate model calculations from the German High Performance Computing Centre for Climate and Earth System Research.

The global temperature could rise by up to four degrees by the end of the century. Because of this warming, the sea level could rise on average by as many as 30 centimeters. The scientists expect that under certain conditions, the sea ice in the arctic will completely melt. In Europe, summers will be drier and warmer, and this will affect agriculture. The winters will become warmer and wetter. Another consequence of the heated atmosphere will be extreme events like heavy precipitation with floods.

"The significant result of these future scenarios is the progressive raising of mean global temperatures and the movement of climate zones in connection with that," says Dr. Erich Roeckner, the project leader of the model calculations in Hamburg. "Almost everywhere on earth, the forestry industry will have to husband different types of trees than it has until now."

In addition to the findings about the complex interplay between atmosphere and ocean, the current climate models from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology also include new findings about the effects of aerosols and the influence of the earth's carbon cycle. The results confirm speculations over recent years that humans are having a large and unprecedented influence on the climate and are fuelling global warming.

To verify their own climate model calculations, the researchers first simulated the climate of the last century and compared the results with the real climate. "In this way, the theoretical models could be adapted very well to reality," says Professor Jochem Marotzke, the Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology.

The results by the climate researchers from Hamburg will be presented in the report from the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It is developed every five years, on the commission of the WMO, World Meteorological Organisation, and the UNEP, United Nations Environmental Programme. The IPCC report is provided to governments as an independent source of information. In total, 1000 scientists worldwide are working on the fourth edition of the progress report, due for release in 2007. The scientists are commissioned by their governments to participate in the comprehensive, independent climate status report.

"The Max Planck Institute for Meteorology is participating in the calculation of the IPCC scenarios with a coupled atmosphere-ocean model that is considered one of the best climate models worldwide," says Dr Guy Brasseur, the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, and one of the 15 coordinating main authors of the IPCC Report. "As scientists, we want to provide politicians with a decision paper that is as understandable as possible, and from which they can decide which measures ought to be politically implemented as urgently as possible."

In the framework of the international workshop "Future Climate Scenarios and their Use for Impact Studies", scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology presented, on September 29th and 30th, their latest model calculations, and discussed them with colleagues and operators from Germany and abroad. The data and results will be made available, in particular, to research groups that deal with the effects of climate. Those include regional results and the effects on land and sea ecosystems, hydrology, air quality, and socio-economic systems.

The Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg is one of the leading worldwide climate research facilities. In the last two years it has contributed 50 scientists to the research project, and made a financial outlay of almost 10 million euros.
-end-
The results of the research were presented to media representatives at a press conference on September 29, 2005, at 11:00 am, in the building housing the Centre for Marine and Atmospheric Science (Bundesstr. 53, 20146 Hamburg, Room 022/023).

The following people were present and available for questions:

  • Professor Jochem Marotzke - Managing Director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology
  • Professor Guy P. Brasseur - Director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology and one of the coordinating main authors of the IPCC Report
  • Dr Erich Roeckner -Scientific Chair of Model Calculations for the IPCC Report, Max Planck Institute of Meteorology

    TV footage and audio materials

    ALDEBARAN Marine Research & Broadcast GmbH
    Frank Schweikert
    Deichstr. 48-50
    20459 Hamburg
    Tel.: +49 40 32 57 21-0
    FAX: +49 4032 57 21-21
    Email: schweikert@aldebaran.org

    Related links:

    [1] Max Planck Institute for Meteorology http://www.mpimet.mpg.de/en/web/

    [2] German High Performance Computing Centre for Climate and Earth System Research http://www.dkrz.de/

    [3] More information on the model calculations http://www.dkrz.de/dkrz/science/IPCC_AR4/IPCC_Background?setlang=en_US

    [4] Simulations of Climate Change for IPCC AR4 http://www.dkrz.de/dkrz/science/IPCC_AR4/scenarios_AR4_Intro?setlang=en_US

    Max-Planck-Gesellschaft

    Related Climate Change Articles from Brightsurf:

    Are climate scientists being too cautious when linking extreme weather to climate change?
    Climate science has focused on avoiding false alarms when linking extreme events to climate change.

    Mysterious climate change
    New research findings underline the crucial role that sea ice throughout the Southern Ocean played for atmospheric CO2 in times of rapid climate change in the past.

    Mapping the path of climate change
    Predicting a major transition, such as climate change, is extremely difficult, but the probabilistic framework developed by the authors is the first step in identifying the path between a shift in two environmental states.

    Small change for climate change: Time to increase research funding to save the world
    A new study shows that there is a huge disproportion in the level of funding for social science research into the greatest challenge in combating global warming -- how to get individuals and societies to overcome ingrained human habits to make the changes necessary to mitigate climate change.

    Sub-national 'climate clubs' could offer key to combating climate change
    'Climate clubs' offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally harmonized climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

    Review of Chinese atmospheric science research over the past 70 years: Climate and climate change
    Over the past 70 years since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, Chinese scientists have made great contributions to various fields in the research of atmospheric sciences, which attracted worldwide attention.

    A CERN for climate change
    In a Perspective article appearing in this week's Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Tim Palmer (Oxford University), and Bjorn Stevens (Max Planck Society), critically reflect on the present state of Earth system modelling.

    Fairy-wrens change breeding habits to cope with climate change
    Warmer temperatures linked to climate change are having a big impact on the breeding habits of one of Australia's most recognisable bird species, according to researchers at The Australian National University (ANU).

    Believing in climate change doesn't mean you are preparing for climate change, study finds
    Notre Dame researchers found that although coastal homeowners may perceive a worsening of climate change-related hazards, these attitudes are largely unrelated to a homeowner's expectations of actual home damage.

    Older forests resist change -- climate change, that is
    Older forests in eastern North America are less vulnerable to climate change than younger forests, particularly for carbon storage, timber production, and biodiversity, new research finds.

    Read More: Climate Change News and Climate Change Current Events
  • Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.