Predictions about global warming: what is really possible?

Predictions about global warming: what is really possible?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

Presented by the Atmospheric Sciences & Geology Section


Speaker: Dave Rind, NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS)

Though global warming is a real problem, we face numerous challenges in predicting its course precisely. These challenges include limitations of the general circulation computer models as well as gaps in our knowledge of cloud physics, water vapor feedbacks, radiative properties of trace organic molecular aerosol components, and others areas.

The Atmospheric Sciences Section conducts meetings at the Academy during the academic year for local and visiting members. The meetings focus on new knowledge about the Earth's atmosphere as well as atmospheres of other planets. The group's programming features distinguished researchers from academic, governmental, and private institutions. Significant results from the meetings are posted on the Academy's web site for the benefit of our worldwide membership.


Predictions about global warming: what is really possible?:D. Rind NASA/GISS

When questions of 'doing something' to avert global warming arise, one commonly heard refrain is "let’s wait until we know something certain". In response to that attitude, the questions to be addressed here are: (1) what exactly is it that we have to predict; for what time frame are we predicting; (3) how accurately do we need these predictions? and (4) when will we be able to make these predictions ? We will review the state-of-the-art of the science of predicting the future climate, and attempt to provide perspective on how much we know, how much we don’t know, and how much we can reasonably be expected to know.