Ocean heat store makes climate change inevitable

Some more fuel to the climate change debate:

Meehl and his colleagues used two sophisticated computer models of global climate to predict what would happen under various scenarios for greenhouse gas emission controls, taking into account the oceanic time lag. Their most optimistic scenario – in which atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases are capped at year 2000 levels – would require severe cuts in CO2 emissions, far beyond those set in the Kyoto protocol.

But even this optimistic scenario predicts that global temperatures would continue to rise by between 0.4°C and 0.6°C over the next century. That increase is comparable to the increase in global temperature during the 20th century of about 0.6°C. A second, independent study using a simpler climate model by Tom Wigley, another climatologist at NCAR, paints the same bleak picture.