NASA Warns Global Warming Models Wrong -Don't Account for Cooling Factors
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December 09, 2010

NASA Warns Global Warming Models Wrong -Don't Account for Cooling Factors

6a00d8341bf7f753ef00e55386f7ad8834-800wi Top NASA experts say that current climate models predicting global warming are far too gloomy, and have failed to properly account for an important cooling factor which will come into play as CO2 levels rise.

According to Lahouari Bounoua of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and other scientists from NASA and the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), existing models fail to accurately include the effects of rising CO2 levels on green plants. As green plants breathe in CO2 in the process of photosynthesis – they also release oxygen, the only reason that there is any in the air for us to breathe – more carbon dioxide has important effects on them.

Most current climate models don't account for green plants can be expected to grow as they find it easier to harvest carbon from the air around them using energy from the sun: thus introducing a negative feedback into the warming/carbon process, according to Bounoua. Some do, but they fail to accurately simulate the effects – they don't allow for the fact that plants in a high-CO2 atmosphere will "down-regulate" and so use water more efficiently.

The NASA group concluded that the increase in precipitation contributes primarily to increase evapotranspiration rather than surface runoff, consistent with observations, and results in an additional cooling effect not fully accounted for in previous simulations with elevated CO2.

The NASA and NOAA experts used their more accurate science to model a world where CO2 levels have doubled to 780 parts per million (ppm) compared to today's 390-odd. They say that world would actually warm up by just 1.64°C overall, and the vegetation-cooling effect would be stronger over land to boot – thus temperatures on land would would be a further 0.3°C cooler compared to the present sims.

International diplomatic efforts under UN auspices are currently targeted to  keep global warming limited to 2°C or less, which under current climate models calls for holding CO2 to 450 ppm – or less in many analyses – a target widely regarded as unachievable. Doubled carbon levels are normally viewed in the current state of enviro play as a scenario that would lead to catastrophe; that is, to warming well beyond 2°C.

If Bounoua and her colleagues are right, and CO2 levels keep on rising the way they have been lately (about 2 ppm each year), we can go a couple of centuries without any dangerous warming. There are lots of other factors in play, of course, but nonetheless the new analysis is very reassuring.

"As we learn more about how these systems react, we can learn more about how the climate will change," says Bounoua's colleague Forrest Hall, in a NASA statement accompanying the team's scholarly paper. "Each year we get better and better. It's important to get these things right."

The NASA/NOAA boffins' paper Quantifying the negative feedback of vegetation to greenhouse warming: A modeling approach is published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.

Jason McManus via The Register

Comments

Wait for the right wingers to pounce on this. I find it hard to believe thousands of climatologists have all neglected to factor in the 'positive' consequences of increased CO2.

I'm not going to single out the climate-change doomsday sayers, because everyone among us has a tendency to believe what they want regardless of the ultimate truth of those opinions. But, isn't the reality of our impact on the Earth starting to sink it yet?

We can poison certain parts of the planet. We could irradiate the Earth. We could overburden the planet with our demands for resources. We can cause more rapid rates of extinctions. There's certainly a lot of nasty things we could do to the planet as a species.

But, could we cause a global climate catastrophe? Does anyone except those blindly indoctrinated into the climate-change religion really think we have the power to destroy, or significantly degrade, the overall climate of the Earth solely from our actions? I think it's time to finally put to rest that illusion, and concentrate on the "environmental health" of our habitat. We should stop wasting time on a pie-in-the-sky notion that we somehow hold the power to affect the planet anywhere near to what natural causes have been doing for eons.

Even if we could pipsqueak the average global temp upward 2C, the Earth would consider it a minor rash on the side of it's big toe. Life has survived cataclysms hundreds of times more severe than that. The worst we can do as a species is to degrade the specific environments we live in, and the only thing that would suffer in the long-term would be us.

@Rocker

Maybe life has survived previous catastrophes, but I find that setting the bar a bit low. I would like humanity as a species to survive as well.

Humanity has come close to extinction before as a result of catastrophic climate change. The Neanderthals were most likely wiped out because of this.

Perhaps humanity will survive, perhaps in a few centuries, our descendants will be clinging onto survival in small communities dotted across the globe. I would much rather we took steps to avoid catastrophic loss of life and mitigate the damage we're doing to our environment right now.

*Pushes trailer back into garage* "Awww snap I was so set on heading for the hills".
I wonder if NASA figured in the lack of plants, at the rate trees are being butchered we might not have enough forest to help with evapotranspiration.
I say we take Gore and run him up a flag pole, anyone up for that ?

God said there would not be another flood. That's all you need to know. Still think religion is harmless?

Geoff:
Funny. I was just thinking the same thing about the left-wingers. I won't tell you what to believe, but I urge you to keep in mind that paradigms are rarely accurate. The truth is that bathroom sinks are dirtier than toilets, but nobody ever believed that until it was proven.

I've long since given up trying to convince liberals that there is no such thing as global warming, but I still take every opportunity to point out that precision does not neccessarily imply accuracy. Precision is a measure of how similar the opinions of a person are to teh opinions of somebody else. Accuracy is a measure of how close an individual's opinion is to scientific fact, regardless of whether or not anybody else has the same opinion.

To this end, I have arrived at the opinion that liberals have high precision (as they all seem to agree the world is coming to an end) but low accuracy (because it's not.)

Anyway, no matter what side you take, you've got to admit the DG has favored the liberal side almost exclusively up till now. They're idea of a "contrary view of global warming" was a guy who believed the world was coming to an end due to global warming, but thought there was still time to fix it. that doesn't seem very contrary to me.

You should look into the "Inhofe 700." Senator Inhofe has got a petition signed by over 700 prominent scientists saying that the scarce evidence to support global warming is not sufficient to base public policy on.

None of this Global Warming "belief" "disbelief" stuff changes the fact that we would be far better off to enthusiastically explore and exploit alternative energy sources for the betterment of national safety, a cleaner environment, and a prosperous economy.

This planet is humanity's cradle. We can choose to go to the stars but that effort would wrinkle some of our cradle's sheets. Alternatively, we could worship our cradle and make the bedding perfect until the next catastrophe hits. The choice is ours.

It seems the author of this article miss this from the studies lead author.

Bounoua stressed that while the model's results showed a negative feedback, it is not a strong enough response to alter the global warming trend that is expected. In fact, the present work is an example of how, over time, scientists will create more sophisticated models that will chip away at the uncertainty range of climate change and allow more accurate projections of future climate.

"This feedback slows but does not alleviate the projected warming," Bounoua said.

John's right. Even if it is a load of garbage, developing cars that can run effectively and reliably on solar power would save the average working american probably like 50k in their lifetimes. It's very well worth the research. I'd also put a little more money and time into 'superconductivity' research. If they can find a superconductor that functions at more than practically absolute zero (like maybe seventy or eighty degrees fahrenheit) we could have a virtually free source of transportation.

Have you all seen the Nissan Volt? It's an absolute joke! You couldn't make it over the hills to get to my house in that little puddle jumper.

I am sure global warming scientist will take this new info and test it, that's what scientists do to find the truth. More than I can say for our media, politicians, economists and religious leaders. Unfortunately humans would rather hear what they want to hear, that's why someone like Rush Lumbaugh with zero knowledge of the working of science are making the bid bucks.

mike

@Mike it's why people join politics too, might as well throw acting in there, politician actor, liar all the bloody same, lawyer too.

Humanity has come close to extinction before as a result of catastrophic climate change. The Neanderthals were most likely wiped out because of this.

@Alex: You may want to take a look at the specialties of Inhofe's 700 scientists.

Where are the articles at NASA and NOAA websites? Please provide your reference.

Your article omitted a huge fact, this study cleary states it won't be sufficiant to stop man made global warming!

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/cooling-plant-growth.html

Thankfully actual science is much more rigourous.

Fake global warming, yet another violation of our rights. Add it to the list of gov’t violations of our right:
They violate the 1st Amendment by placing protesters in cages, banning books like “America Deceived II” and censoring the internet.
They violate the 2nd Amendment by confiscating guns.
They violate the 4th and 5th Amendment by molesting airline passengers.
They violate the entire Constitution by starting undeclared wars for foreign countries.
Impeach Obama and sweep out the Congress, except Ron Paul.
(Last link of Banned Book):
http://www.iuniverse.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-000190526

The current resolutions coming out of Cancun will result in a nine degree warming of the planet. In the not too distant future all debate will end as people kiss each others baked asses goodbye.

These are real wonderful! Thanks for sharing.


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