Climate Change May be Causing Major Impacts for the Next 10,000 Years

First Posted: Feb 08, 2016 04:20 PM EST

Climate change is going to make a lot more changes to our environment than anyone expected. Researchers have looked at the next 10,000 years and have found that climate change is likely to persist millennia after carbon dioxide releases cease.

Most climate projections end at 2300 at the latest, since this is the time period that most people are interested in. However, the researchers in this latest study wanted to see the full effects of adding trillions of tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere over the next three centuries.

"I think most people would tell you that temperature and sea level will spike as we continue burning fossil fuels, but once we stop burning, they will go back down," said Shaun Marcott, one of the researchers, in a news release. "In fact, it will take many thousands of years for the excess carbon dioxide to completely leave the atmosphere and be stored in the ocean, and the effect on temperature and sea level will last equally long."

In this latest study, researchers looked at the impact of four possible levels of carbon pollution that would start in 2000 and end in 2300.

"Carbon is going up, and even if we stop what we are doing in the relatively near future, the system will continue to respond because it hasn't reached an equilibrium," said Marcott. "If you boil water and turn off the burner, the water will stay warm because heat remains in it."

The researchers found that by 2300, the carbon dioxide level will soar from almost 400 ppm to as much as 2,000 ppm. The most extreme temperature rise-about 7 degrees Celsius by the year 2300-would taper off only slightly to about 6 degrees Celsius, after 10,000.

The findings reveal that climate change is likely to have continual impacts moving forward and far into the future.

The findings are published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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