Galway study finds climate change could be even worse than expected

Galway study finds climate change could be even worse than expected

When the leader of the so-called Free World is a climate change denier, it may seem like we’re sailing directly against the wind as we try to make headway in one of the most important battles of this generation.

And the uphill battle might be steeper than we thought, because a new Galway study has found that the impact of current climate change may be even larger than expected.

The new study led by Dr Audrey Morley at NUI Galway found that the magnitude of past abrupt climate change events may have underestimated.

The study was published today, 4 December, in the international journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems.

Lead author of the study, Dr Audrey Morley from the School of Geography and Archaeology at NUI Galway, explained that abrupt climate events that occurred during the last interglacial warm period, ca. 125,000 years ago, have been underestimated by up to 4°Celsius.

“This is important because our current understanding of climate change and our predictions of future climate both rely on past examples from Earth’s climate history. Robust and quantitative methods to deduce the magnitude of abrupt climate events from the geologic record are therefore essential,” Dr Morley said.

In this new study, Dr Morley collaborated with researchers from the University of California-Santa Cruz, Rutgers University New Jersey and the University of Bergen, and studied an established geochemical tool for investigating sea surface temperatures in the past.

“Applying the proposed correction scheme to past climate records reveals that we may have underestimated abrupt climate events by up to 4°Celsius during past interglacial warm periods,” Dr Morley added.

“This is particularly important for climate records from the subpolar/polar North Atlantic region that may have experienced abrupt changes in carbonate ion concentrations linked with abrupt climate events. Correcting for low carbonate ion concentration values improves the fidelity of temperature reconstructions and allows a reassessment of the magnitude of climate events occurring during warm climates.”

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