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Posted Wed Feb 2 2011: from EnvironmentalResearchWeb:
Planet is 'more sensitive to carbon dioxide than we thought'
... Kiehl describes how he examined the relationship between global temperatures and high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere tens of millions of years ago. Global temperatures then averaged about 16 deg C above pre-industrial levels. The article pulls together several recent studies that look at various aspects of the climate system, while adding a mathematical approach by Kiehl to estimate average global temperatures in the distant past. The study found that carbon dioxide may have two times or more the effect on global temperatures than currently projected by computer models of global climate. The world's leading computer models generally project that a doubling of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would have a climate feedback factor (ratio of change in surface temperature to radiative forcing) in the range of 0.5 to 1.0 deg C per watts per square metre. However, the published data show that the comparable climate feedback factor of carbon dioxide 35 million years ago amounted to about 2 deg C per watt per square metre.... Because carbon dioxide is being pumped into the atmosphere at a rate that has never been experienced, Kiehl could not estimate how long it would take for the planet to fully heat up. However, a rapid warm-up would make it especially difficult for societies and ecosystems to adapt, he says. He estimates that global temperatures may take centuries or millennia to fully adjust in response to the higher carbon dioxide levels.
[Read more stories about: carbon emissions, climate impacts, death spiral, global warming, holyshit]

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