Fresh from this morning's MIT Tech Review - we're all gonna die. Want the details? Why would you?
If you're still with me, here's the deal. Looks like the planet is in for a lot more sunny skies. The flip side (do you even remember vinyl records?) is that global warming may leave us with less cloud cover.
The kids from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are reporting a new study published in Nature Geoscience claims that global warming could cause enough loss of cloud cover over our oceans to trigger up to 8 degrees Celsius of warming.
Curiously, the normally fastidious crew at MIT overlooked mentioning that the research came out of rival CalTech which happens to manage NASA's legendary Jet Propulsion Lab.
Supercomputer simulations suggest that greenhouse gases are causing the disappearance of clouds over our oceans, and that could drastically speed up global warming over the next century, a paper in Nature Geoscience suggests. Specifically, the tipping point is predicted to come once atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations reach about 1,200 parts per million. The figure is currently about 410 ppm but could reach 1,200 ppm within the next century.
This scenario would be similar to an event that occurred about 56 million years ago during the Eocene period, according to the authors. During the so-called Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), a sudden release of carbon into the atmosphere was followed by a sudden temperature increase of more than 5 °C. It had catastrophic effects. It caused mass extinction in the seas and was hot enough for crocodiles to swim in the Arctic.Now, in fairness, if mankind makes it through the next thirty or forty years there's a decent chance we'll work out some means of artificial cloud cover if for no other reason than so we don't all die. That's called "geo-engineering" which is scary in its own right. But 8 degrees Celsius, that really doesn't leave you with a lot of options, right? Right?