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Long-run CO2-concentrations and temperature increase: Baseline, 1970-2100*
----- Impacts of climate change: Temperature and precipitation -------- Global warming is underway. The global mean temperature has risen about 0.7 °C to 0.8 °C on average above pre-industrial levels... . These observed changes in climate have already had an influence on human and natural systems (IPCC, 2007b). The greatest warming over the past century occurred at high latitudes, with a large portion of the Arctic having experienced warming of more than 2 °C. The projected large increase in global GHG emissions in the Baseline is expected to have a significant impact on the global mean temperature and the global climate. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report (IPCC, 2007a) concluded that a doubling of CO2 concentrations from pre-industrial levels (when they were approximately 280 ppm) would likely lead to an increase of temperature somewhere between 2.0 °C and 4.5 °C7 (the so-called climate sensitivity. However, a growing number of authors suggest that climate sensitivity values above 5 °C, such as 8 °C or higher cannot be ruled out, which would shift even higher the estimated temperatures increase for existing emissions level (Meinshausen et al. 2006; Weitzman, 2009). Under the Outlook Baseline scenario, the global concentration of GHGs is expected to reach approximately 685 ppm CO2-equivalent (CO2e) by mid-century and more than 1 000 ppm CO2e by 2100. The concentration of CO2 alone is projected to be around 530 ppm in 2050 and 780 ppm in 2100 (Figure 3.9). As a result, global mean temperature is expected to increase, though there is still uncertainty surrounding the climate sensitivity. The Outlook Baseline scenario suggests that these GHG-concentration levels would lead to an increase in global mean temperature at the middle of the century of 2.0 ºC-2.8 ºC, and 3.7 ºC-5.6 ºC at the end of the century (compared to pre-industrial times). These estimates are roughly in the middle ranges of temperature changes found in the peer-reviewed literature (IPCC, 2007b).
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