Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The next degree won't take as long

Here's a good, short post from And Then There's Physics explaining how the next degree of global average temperature increase won't take as long as the first:
Just a quick post to highlight that – according to the UK Met Office – 2015 is likely to be 1oC above pre-industrial – well, 1oC above the 1850 to 1900 average. If you think that we should have a target of staying below 2oC, then this is something of a milestone; we’re halfway there. Or, are we?

Well, it depends on how you consider this. It’s taken us about 160 years to warm by about 1oC. This is associated with emissions of about 550GtC (550 billion tonnes of carbon, or ~2000 billion tonnes of CO2). Current emissions are around 10GtC/year. If we continue emitting as we are, we will double our cumulative emissions in about 50 years. If we continue to increase our emissions, it will be even sooner (H/T Aaron on Twitter). If we want to have a >66% chance of staying below 2oC, then we have a carbon budget of only about 250GtC (850GtCO2) from 2015, which we could reach in only 25 years at current emissions.

So, we might be halfway to 2oC in terms of temperature, but we’re much more than halfway there in terms of time.
The comments following are well worth reading, too.

[But, hey LDP, please continue to concentrate on how irritating it is to have to wear a bicycle helmet and not be able to vape nicotine while riding to the bar that's going to shut at the ridiculously early hour of 3 am.  We have to get our priorities right: I understand.]

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