The Ever-Changing Science of Global Warming

| Tue Aug. 23, 2011 4:42 PM EDT

Speaking of science, Brad Plumer points out today that scientists do change their minds from time to time. That's science! And they've been changing their collective minds on global warming recently too:

Much of the climate science that’s been published since 2007 appears to have strengthened the consensus, not weakened it. A report published last May by Britain’s Met Office, looking at more than 100 peer-reviewed post-IPCC studies, found that the case for human influence has been bolstered: “We can say with a very high significance level that the effects we see in the climate cannot be attributed to any other forcings.”

Similarly, at last year’s annual American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting, UC Santa Barbara’s William Freudenberg gave a presentation finding that, “New scientific findings are found to be more than twenty times as likely to indicate that global climate disruption is “worse than previously expected,” rather than “not as bad as previously expected.” ”

Anyone who reads this blog regularly already knows this, but as climate models have gotten better the consensus estimates of future warming have been going up, not down. A rise of 2°C over the next century is now a certainty, 4°C is pretty likely, and 6°C is hardly out of the question. And anyone who thinks 6°C isn't something to at least consider insuring against just isn't paying attention.