Thursday, May 24, 2007

What climate changes are projected for future centuries?

Anthropogenic climate change will persist for many centuries.

Emissions of long-lived greenhouse gases (i.e., CO2, N2O, PFCs, SF6) have a lasting effect on atmospheric composition and climate. Even after greenhouse gas concentrations have stabilized, global average surface temperatures would continue rising at a reduced rate.

Global mean surface temperature increases and rising sea level from thermal expansion of the ocean are projected to continue for hundreds of years after stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations (even at present levels).

Ice sheets will continue to react to climate warming and contribute to sea level rise for thousands of years after the climate has stabilized. For instance, a Greenland warming of 5.5°C, if sustained for 1,000 years, would likely7 result in a sea level rise of about 3 meters.

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