Friday, March 30, 2007

Global Warming and Novel Climates

Last night the National Public Radio program "All Things Considered" gave a brief summary of recent research by scientists Jack Williams, Steven Jackson, and Jonathan Overpeck. Williams and Jackson are the authors of a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences which identifies regions of the world where new climates may evolve in response to future global warming. The above map shows their model results for the year 2100 CE with 850 ppm CO2 in the Earth's atmosphere, the A2 scenario of the IPCC AR4. Novel climates, shown in yellow, will be found primarily in the tropics and subtropics. Disappearing climates, shown in blue, will be concentrated in tropical montane regions and the poleward portions of continents. In the A2 scenario, 12-39% and 10-48% of the Earth's terrestrial surface may respectively experience novel and disappearing climates by 2100 CE while only 4-20% of the terrestrial surface will experience such climates for the low-end B1 scenario of the IPCC AR4.

Addendum (3/30): I just heard an excellent interview of Steven Jackson by Juan Williams on Talk of the Nation. Jackson talked about the complexity of climate change and why one cannot model it by simply moving climate parameters from zone to zone.

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