UCI’s Jim Randerson’s Climate Projections to the Year 2300
Prof. James Randerson’s of UCI’s Earth System Science department spoke to our OLLI class on climate science projections out to the year 2300, and the current Trump administration effects on halting President Obama’s Clean Energy Plan. I will just cover some highlights here.
Roughly by 2300 we may burn up most of the easily available fossil fuel sources. Four possible futures are usually covered, in what are called Representative Concentration Pathways or RCP’s, which are labeled by their excess greenhouse gas radiative forcings in the year 2100. The business as usual RCP 8.5, means that in 2100 the radiative forcing will be 8.5 Watts/square meter above industrial times. Currently, we are at about 2.5 Watts/square meter.
Out at 2300, CO2 has risen to 1800 parts per million (ppm), 4.5 times the present 400 ppm. The temperature has risen 9 degrees C over pre-industrial times, or 8 degrees C over the present, which is a sweltering 14.4 degrees F over the present.
The net ocean flux for CO2 uptake increases as the ocean warms, but by 2100, the ocean stratification slows ocean mixing, the North Atlantic Ocean overturning shuts down, and the ocean absorbs less CO2 per year.
Of course, sea level rises as the oceans warm, and the oceans are also added to by the melting of Greenland and Antarctica ice caps.
The sea level rise for RCP 8.5 is 1.05 +/- 0.30 meters at 2100. At year 2500, sea level rise is at about 16 meters for business as usual RCP 8.5.
Prof. Randerson also covered the Trump plan dismantling President Obama’s Clean Power plan, and the emptying out of the President’s Office of Science and Technology.
He then talked about his research using satellites to classify Southern California fires as Santa Ana wind based fires in the fall, versus summer fires. The Santa Ana fires do about four times the damage, since they blow into expensive property on the West coast. More money should be invested into the rapid response needed to fight these fires.