CLIMATE change is likely to be markedly less severe than forecast, a study proved yesterday.
By JOHN INGHAM
It predicted that the impact could be up to 45 per cent less intense than what is widely accepted.
But the study emerged as other scientists said winter waves pounding the Scottish and Irish coasts have grown grow by up to 5ft 6in (1.7metres) over the past 70 years.
Rising sea levels and more intense storms are in line with global warming forecasts.
The study questioning the future intensity of climate change was carried out by American climatologist Judith Curry and UK mathematician Nick Lewis.
It is based on analysing the warming effect of greenhouse gases and other drivers of climate change, from the mid 19th century until 2016.
It forecast that future warming will be between 30 per cent and 45 per cent lower than suggested by simulations carried out by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel one Climate Change.
The study in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate predicts temperature rises of 1.66C compared to one IPCC forecast of 3.1C and 1.33C compared to another IPCC study predicting 1.9C.
The 2015 Paris climate agreement sought to limit climate change to 2C above pre-industrial levels and no more than 1.5C if possible.
Mr Lewis, said: “Our results imply that, for any future emissions scenario, future warming is likely to be substantially lower than the central computer model-simulated level projected by the IPCC, and highly unlikely to exceed that level.”
Governments around the world base their preparation for tackling climate change on the IPCC models.
Actions include subsidising green energy which has led to higher electricity bills.
However, a separate study by Plymouth University and French colleagues says that average winter wave heights along the Atlantic coast of Western Europe have been rising for almost seven decades.
The coastlines of Scotland and Ireland have seen the largest increases, with the average height of winter waves more than 2ft 4in (0.7metres) higher than in 1948.
And wave heights in winter storms are about 5ft 6in (1.7m) higher than 780 years ago, says the study which is to be published in the American Geophysical Union’s journal Geophysical Research Letters.
Dr Bruno Castelle of France’s National Centre for Scientific Research said: “The height of waves during winter storms is the primary factor affecting dune and cliff erosion, explaining up to 80 per cent of the shoreline variability along exposed sandy coasts.”
“So any increases in wave heights, and greater frequency of extreme storms, are going to have a major impact on thousands of communities along the Atlantic coastlines of Western Europe.
This work and our other recent studies have shown both are on the rise, meaning there is a real need to ensure the Atlantic coasts of Europe are protected against present and future storm threats.”
The same scientists also showed that the winter storms of 2013-14 were the most powerful to hit the Atlantic coast of western Europe since records began in 1948.
The UK suffered its wettest ever winter during that period with widespread flooding as 12 major storms battered the country.