Newer, more complete scientific models suggest that the worst predictions of man-made global warming — an average global temperature increase of 8 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100 — may be the most accurate.

“Warming is likely to be on the high side of the projections,” warned John Fasullo of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., a co-author of a new study confirming the likelihood of the grimmest predictions.

Warming on the scale of 8 degrees would mean “drastically higher seas, disappearing coastlines and more severe droughts, floods and other destructive weather,” The Washington Post reports.

The new models attempt to circumvent the difficulty previous studies have had in accounting for the influence of cloud cover on temperature. No existing supercomputer is powerful enough to predict shifts in cloud cover decades into the future, so Fasullo and his colleague Kevin Trenberth crafted a model based on relative humidity. Because clouds form when humidity rises, “humidity is a good proxy for cloud cover,” the Post reports.

— Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

The Washington Post:

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.

In other words, by using real data, the scientists picked simulation winners and losers.

“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.

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