Limits needed on CO2 not just temperature to avoid weather extremes

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Focusing global warming efforts on temperature goals and not on CO2 emissions themselves may put us at risk of more extreme weather, say international researchers, including an Australian. The scientists looked into the effect of different levels of CO2 in the atmosphere on weather in a 1.5°C warmer world. The found that even at the same temperature, higher levels of CO2 increase the likelihood and severity of humid heatwaves and tropical rainfall extremes. So even if the climate turns out to be forgiving and we can emit lots of CO2 before we hit 1.5°C, we might still be at risk of weather extremes, they say.

Journal/conference: Nature Climate Change

Organisation/s: The University of Melbourne

Funder: H.S.B. is supported by Natural Environment Research Council grant NE/L002612/1. R.J.M. was supported by Natural Environment Research Council grant NE/P014844/1. D.M. is supported by a NERC independent fellowship. H.S. was supported by the Integrated Research Program for Advancing Climate Models (TOUGOU program) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan and ERTDF 2–1702 of Environmental Restoration and Conservation Agency, Japan.

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