Previous studies did not address the role of clouds in global warming.
A new study published Thursday in the journal Science suggests that rising temperatures on Earth during the next few years will be even worse than expected. According to the researchers, so far the key roles clouds play have not been sufficiently taken into account.
The study carried out jointly by two researchers from Yale University (USA) and one of a Californian laboratory argued that most models trying to predict the temperature increase induced by human activity “have underestimated the important contributions of the clouds.”
The global climate models that try to predict average temperature increases must know how the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere affects atmospheric temperatures, since the greater this, the warming caused by carbon dioxide wills also be elevated.
To try to better adjust their predictions, researchers and Trude Storelvmo Ivy Tan (Yale) and Mark D. Zelinka (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California) resorted to very specific data NASA clouds and their chemical composition.
Given this new data, the model determined that the “equilibrium climate sensitivity”, which relates the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere with its effect on atmospheric temperature, is between 5 and 5.3 degrees Celsius.
Previous studies did not address the role of clouds and their chemical composition placed the “climate sensitivity balance” between 2 and 4.6 degrees Celsius.
Last year in Paris there was a historic and ambitious agreement on climate change, in which 195 countries and the European Union (EU) pledged to advance together towards a low carbon economy.
The first universal pact against global warming, which has cost two decades of climate summits and held its final round between November 30 and December 12 in the French capital, aims to limit below two degrees increased end of the century average over pre-industrial temperature values.
The findings have been published in the journal Science.