Thursday, October 15, 2009

It is time to act!

Two recent studies highligh alarming conclusions about climate change:

1) An update of the IPCC report claims that Global Warming is rapidly increasing

A review of 400 major climate studies published since the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that the world is warming more rapidly than the panel’s mainstream projections and concludes that the rapid buildup of greenhouse gases “has most likely committed the world to a warming of 1.4 to 4.3 degrees C” — 2.5 to 7.7 degrees F — by 2100. The updated report, compiled by the United Nations Environmental Program, said events that the IPCC forecast would occur long-term are already occurring or on the verge of occurring. These include rapid acidification of the oceans, faster-than-expected melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, rising sea levels, shifting ocean and atmospheric currents, and warming polar land masses. “This compendium reminds us that the risks we face may be much greater than what’s generally represented in IPCC assessments,” said Ken Caldeira of Stanford University, one of roughly 60 scientific reviewers of the report. The report said that burgeoning economies in China, India, and other developing countries, coupled with a lack of emissions cutbacks in the industrialized world, have caused greenhouse gas emissions to grow more rapidly than the most extreme scenario presented by the IPCC.

source: http://e360.yale.edu/content/digest.msp?id=2100

2) A study carried out in North Pole shows an important decrease in ice thickness

A pioneering expedition to the North Pole, during which a team trekking across the Arctic Ocean drilled 1,500 holes in the ice, has found that most of the ocean is covered by thinner, first-year ice, leading scientists to forecast that the ocean will be largely ice-free in summer within a decade or two. The Catlin Arctic Survey, carried out last spring as the expedition trekked for 73 days across 280 miles of the
Catlin Arctic Survey
Catlin Arctic Survey
northern Beaufort Sea to the North Pole, determined that the average thickness of ice in the area was close to six feet. Analyzing the data, ice experts said that much of the sea ice is only about a year old, replacing the thicker ice, formed over many decades, that once covered the sea. Measurements made by nuclear submarines in the 1950s showed that much of the northern Beaufort Sea was once covered by multi-year ice that was twice as thick. “With a larger part of the region now first-year ice, it is clearly more vulnerable,” said Peter Wadhams of the Polar Ocean Physics Group at Cambridge University. “The area is more likely to become open water each summer.” Within 10 to 20 years, Wadhams said, the Arctic Ocean “will essentially be an open sea in the summer.”

source: http://e360.yale.edu/content/digest.msp?id=2101

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