In 1988, climate scientist James Hansen announced to a select committee in Congress that over the next ten years, temperatures would increase .35 degrees Celsius. The actual increase was .11 degrees. Hansen overestimated his findings by 300 percent. Now Hansen has a new study coming out this week in the journal Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry warning that humanity could face a “sea level rise of several meters by the end of the century.” That’s a ten-foot-rise of sea levels, over 300 percent higher than what the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has predicted.
In fact, the IPCC conservatively estimates that if temperatures increase 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, wemay see a three-foot-rise in sea levels. However, as an April 2015 study published in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports showed, “global warming was not progressing as fast as it would even under the most severe emissions scenarios as outlined by the IPCC.” The study indicated that climate models underestimate the magnitude of natural decade-to-decade climate variability, which leads to an “over-interpretation of short-term temperature trends.”
Hansen’s new study, which was previewed by the Daily Beast today, says that the IPCC’s computer models areunderestimating the sensitivity of ice sheets to rising temperatures. Hansen et al combined “ancient paleo-climate data with new satellite readings” and a new and improved computer model of the climate system to demonstrate that “ice sheets can melt in a matter of decades,” and not millenia. Sea level rise has been occurring at roughly the same rate since about 10,000 years ago.
If all this doom and gloom sounds a lot like the climatastrophe flick The Day After Tomorrow, you wouldn’t be too far off the mark. Much of that movie was based on research done by Hansen and incorporated into Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth. “Parts of [our coastal cities] would still be sticking above the water,” Hansen told the Daily Beast, “but you couldn’t live there.” He also believes that averting warming by only 2 degrees Celsius by 2100 would create a “highly dangerous” future.
While some believe Hansen is a “climate seer,” the overall climate trend since his 1988 testimony has been more wrong than right and nobody foreshadowed there would be an abrupt standstill in the rate of global warming for the last 22 years. As The Daily Caller reported Friday, “after September of this year, the Earth will be entering its 22nd year without statistically significant warming trend, according to satellite-derived temperature data.”