Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

A View from David Appell

Committed Warming

We’re already committed to one more degree (Celsius) of warming from the greenhouse gases we’ve already pumped into the atmosphere, according to an article in this week’s issue of Science. The article, by NCAR’s Tom Wigley, stresses the importance of…

  • March 17, 2005

We’re already committed to one more degree (Celsius) of warming from the greenhouse gases we’ve already pumped into the atmosphere, according to an article in this week’s issue of Science. The article, by NCAR’s Tom Wigley, stresses the importance of the thermal inertia of the Earth’s oceans. On the other hand, if we continue to emit greenhouse gases at the same rate, we’re committed to 2-6 degrees Celsius of warming by the year 2400.

That’s a lot, no matter how you qualify it. Sea levels will rise approximately 10 cm/century if the atmosphere remains unchanged, and 25 cm/century if greenhouse gas emissions stay the same. In order to stabilize global mean temperatures, the paper concludes, we’ll have to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases to “well below present levels.”

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.