Research confirms global warming links

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Nuclear Power Plant  ©Stefan Kühn/Wikimedia

Nuclear power plant © Stefan Kühn/Wikimedia

Research conducted by the University of Liverpool has confirmed how global warming is related to the amount of carbon emitted.

Researchers from Liverpool, Southampton and Bristol have developed the first theoretical equation showing that global warming is a direct result of the build-up of carbon emissions since man-made emissions began in the 1800’s.

The equation was developed using global heat and carbon budgets to connect climate warming to how much carbon has been emitted since the pre-industrial era. It involved two competing factors: how the ocean takes up heat and how the climate system takes up carbon from the atmosphere.

According to the research, the planet will experience around 1°C of warming for every million-million tonnes of carbon emitted. The theory agrees with earlier findings from complex climate models which highlights the crucial role the ocean plays in connecting warming to emissions.

Professor Ric Williams, chair in Ocean Sciences at the university’s School of Environmental Sciences, told JMU Journalism: “The planet is warming, not on a year by year basis but decade by decade. If you compare 20 year averages the planet is warming up, and there’s no other explanation out there for it.

“If we emit more carbon the planet is going to get warmer, our theory proves this, the question is how much it will be.  Improving carbon emissions really depends on energy and transport policies.

“The use of carbon capture techniques can also help stop carbon getting into the atmosphere so it will help prevent it a bit. In some sense our work suggests all that matters is how much carbon we emit, if we continue were going to get the worst excesses of climate change occur.”

About Josie Timms, JMU Journalism