Global Warming Even Worse Than We Thought

| Fri Nov. 9, 2012 11:54 AM EST

How bad is global warming likely to be? Some models say bad, other models say really bad. So a couple of climate scientists lined up all the models and compared how they did on one specific metric that could be easily measured: relative humidity over the past ten years. Which model did the best?

Looking back at 10 years of atmospheric humidity data from NASA satellites, the pair examined two dozen of the world’s most sophisticated climate simulations. They found the simulations that most closely matched humidity measurements were also the ones that predicted the most extreme global warming.

....“The models at the higher end of temperature predictions uniformly did a better job,” Fasullo said. The simulations that fared worse — the ones predicting smaller temperature rises — “should be outright discounted,” he said.

The most accurate climate simulations were run by the United Kingdom’s Met Office, a consortium in Japan and a facility at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Who knows. Maybe humidity is just a weird outlier. Anything's possible, especially if you're bound and determined to insist that climate change is no big deal. But if this research is right—and it's hardly the first to suggest that global warming is likely to be worse than we think—you can forget the idea of the world warming by 2 degrees C by the end of the century. Try 5 degrees instead. And then kiss your ass goodbye.