Climate Conference in Glasgow – Clouds are a challenge for climate projections – Meteo

Climate Conference in Glasgow – Clouds are a challenge for climate projections – Meteo – SRF

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With the current climate protection policy after the COP26 in Glasgow, we are heading for a global warming of approximately 2.7 degrees. Similar figures have often been read in recent days. Actually one would have to say: 2.7 degrees is the expected mean value, but there can be considerable deviations upwards or downwards with the same policy.


Expected warming with uncertainty range (grey bar).

SRF Weather

With the current measures, we could also end up at 2 degrees or 3.6 degrees. If the climate protection goals are achieved by 2030, warming could be reduced to 1.9 to 3 degrees. With all the planned reduction targets, we would arrive at 1.5 to 2.4 degrees. Clouds are primarily to blame for the scattering of climate projections.

Small clouds in large climate models

It is currently unclear whether changes in cloud cover will accelerate or slow down climate change. Different climate models give different answers to this question. Small clouds over the ocean are particularly important. If there are more such clouds with climate change, the bright clouds reflect more sunlight back into space and climate change would be slowed down. As these clouds decrease, more sunlight reaches the Earth, increasing warming. Current climate models can only model such small clouds with difficulty. With increasing computing power, however, the uncertainty range of the climate projections should soon become smaller.

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