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Higher End of Climate Model Temperature Projections are more Likely

November 9, 2012; 1:55 PM ET

New analysis from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) indicates that climate modeling projections which show a greater rise in future global temperature are likely to be more accurate than those showing less rise.

Why is that?

A research team led by NCAR scientists John Fasullo and Kevin Trenberth showed that the climate models that most accurately captured complex moisture (relative humidity) processes and associated clouds in the tropics and subtropics were the ones that showed the greatest amount of warming as greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise globally, according to UCAR.

Relative humidity and associated clouds are already known to play a key role in global climate.

Excerpts from the UCAR AtmosNews article....

"There is a striking relationship between how well climate models simulate relative humidity in key areas and how much warming they show in response to increasing carbon dioxide," Fasullo says. "Given how fundamental these processes are to clouds and the overall global climate, our findings indicate that warming is likely to be on the high side of current projections."

"Because we have more reliable observations for humidity than for clouds, we can use the humidity patterns that change seasonally to evaluate climate models," says Trenberth. "When examining the impact of future increases in heat-trapping gases, we find that the simulations with the best fidelity come from models that produce more warming."

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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