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Low Probability-High Impact Climate Changes

Professor Veerabhadan (Ram) Ramanathan, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of CaliforniaSpeaker: Professor Veerabhadan (Ram) Ramanathan, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California
Time: May 21 at 10h00–11h00
Place: Ahlmansalen, Geoscience Building

Our confidence in climate model projections derives from the fact that number of predictions made by studies to-date have mostly been verified with direct observations: These include the Arrhenius’ (and later by Manabe and Wetherald) model of an amplifying feedback between surface warming and water vapor greenhouse effect; the surface warming-stratospheric cooling of CO2; the Budyko-Sellers prediction of polar amplification due to ice-albedo feedback; warming penetrating to the deeper ocean layers; sea level rise and many others. In addition, Roland Madden, and I used a statistical model to test the greenhouse theory of CO2 warming and predicted in 1980 that the CO2 warming (undetected as of 1980) should rise above the background climate noise by 2000. This prediction was also verified by the 2001 IPCC-TAR report. We now have about three decades of observations of warming as well as the evolution of many physical/thermos-dynamical and carbon/methane feedbacks. Using these data, I will describe the low probability (5%)- high impact climate changes we can expect in the following decades.


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