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Climate change

Global warming could speed up

The rate of global warming could more than double over the coming decades, as greenhouse gases build up in Earth's atmosphere.

Steven Smith and his colleagues at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in College Park, Maryland, analysed the rate of warming in global climate simulations, and compared them over different 40-year periods. The team found that the global rate of warming in these simulations increases to an average of 0.25 °C per decade by 2020. An analysis of palaeoclimate data rarely showed rates of temperature change above 0.1 °C per decade during the last millennium.

The Arctic, Europe and North America will probably see larger increases in warming rates than the global average.

Nature Climate Change (2015)

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Global warming could speed up. Nature 519, 132 (2015).

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