Climate Change More Rapid than Ever

September 30, 2005

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology presented on Thursday, September 29, their first model calculations for the future of the climate. According to the calculations, in the next 100 years, the climate will change more than ever. Given particular conditions, it is expected that the sea ice in the North Pole region will completely melt in the summer. Extreme weather events in Europe will increase in frequency and strength.

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.

Source: Max Planck Institute for Meteorology

Explore further: The cuckoo sheds new light on the scientific mystery of bird migration

Related Stories

China's gray smog has a blue lining: Air improves this year

November 12, 2015

Lawyer Wu Congsi has asthma and keeps air purifiers whirring away in his office, home and car to counter Beijing's hazardous smog. He prefers to stay inside unless the sky is blue. But this year, he's been able to regularly ...

Protection for Brazilian wetlands

September 14, 2015

The results of research carried out by Max Planck scientists provide the basis for new environmental legislation in Brazil. The country's Ministry of the Environment has developed proposals for new regulations to conserve ...

Bringing together storm tracks and clouds

September 9, 2015

We often talk about future climate change in terms of "global warming." But when it comes to the impacts of global warming, regional changes in winds and precipitation are more relevant. The latter depend on how the circulation ...

Recommended for you

NASA's space-station resupply missions to relaunch

November 29, 2015

NASA's commercial space program returns to flight this week as one of its private cargo haulers, Orbital ATK, is to launch its first supply shipment to the International Space Station in more than 13 months.

CERN collides heavy nuclei at new record high energy

November 25, 2015

The world's most powerful accelerator, the 27 km long Large Hadron Collider (LHC) operating at CERN in Geneva established collisions between lead nuclei, this morning, at the highest energies ever. The LHC has been colliding ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.