A recent report from the Union of Concerned Scientists warning the climate of the Northeast U.S. could become like that of Alabama during the next 100 years is based on unreliable climate models, said Dr. John Christy, Director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama-Huntsville.

The two-year study released Wednesday states the nine northeastern states could experience higher temperatures and longer summers like those in the south during this century because of global warming, but also states if carbon dioxide emissions decline by three percent every year, the impact will be less severe. The study targeted the northeastern states which produce the highest level of carbon dioxide emissions and did not contain information on Alabama’s projected climate change during this century.

Christy, who is a professor of Atmospheric Science at UAH, said Alabama’s temperature isn’t likely to drastically increase this century. He said climate models used in the study have not been proven reliable.

“In other words, climate models have not been shown to portray accurately regional climates of the past,” he said.

In written testimony submitted in May 2000, to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation on climate change, Christy said the disparity between observations and model results is an “unexplained issue regarding the global average vertical temperature.”

“We do not live 30,000 feet in the atmosphere, and we do not live in a global average surface temperature,” he said. “We live in specific places, cities, states and regions. Local and regional projections of surface climate are very difficult and challenging.”

According to the report, average annual temperatures are projected to increase 6.5-12.5 degrees by the end of the century, while a minimum increase of 3.5-6.5 degrees is projected. The report also projects more frequent and intense heavy rainfall, more frequent droughts, less snow and more extreme heat days in cities.

“The very notion of the Northeast as we know it is at stake,” Dr. Cameron Wake said in a press release. Wake is research associate professor at the University of New Hampshire’s Climate Research Center and co-lead of the report.

“The near-term emissions choices we make in the Northeast and throughout the world will help determine the climate and quality of life our children and grandchildren experience.”

Christy said the earth’s temperature will continue to rise during the next 100 years only slightly as the energy demand increases. He said the study could be politically affiliated, and the Union of Concerned Scientists “have a view about government and a view about the environment.”

Steve Shumway, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Huntsville, said though there is evidence of global warming, many think the earth’s temperature changes are cyclical, rising and falling over thousands of years. Shumway said the rising of the earth’s temperature will bring an increasing amount of cloud cover that could eventually result in another Ice Age.

“Then, something might happen to make the temperature go back down again,” he said.

Shumway said seasonal forecasts for north Alabama indicate an average winter this year. According to the organization’s Web site, the Union of Concerned Scientists is an advocacy group of more than 100,000 citizens and scientists.

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