Global Warming faster than thought
>Published on Thursday, December 18, 2003 by the San Francisco Chronicle
>Earth Warming at Faster Pace, Say Top Science Group's Leaders
>Statement by American Geophysical Union's council warns temperature
>change is real and human-caused
> by David Perlman
> Leaders of one of the nation's top scientific organizations
>issued a new warning this week that human activities -- most
> notably the greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and
>other industries -- are warming Earth's climate at a faster
> rate than ever.
> The statement came from the 28-member council of the American
>Geophysical Union, whose 41,000 members include
> more than 10,000 experts on the planet's atmosphere and
> Although the vast majority of climate researchers are
>that the evidence, combined with computer models,forests
> show that global warming is real and dangerous, a few
>scientists still hold to the view that most of the changes are due
> more to natural cycles than human-induced causes.
> Lead scientist of the organization that circulated the
>statement is Robert Dickinson, professor of atmospheric sciences
> at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Another significant
>signer was John Christy, director of the University of
> Alabama's Earth Systems Science Center, a more cautious
>supporter of the idea that humans are causing climate
> In a phone interview, Christy said that while he supports the
>AGU declaration, and is convinced that human activities
> are the major cause of the global warming that has been
>measured, he is "still a strong critic of scientists who make
> catastrophic predictions of huge increases in global
>temperatures and tremendous rises in sea levels."
> "It is scientifically inconceivable that after changing
>into cities, turning millions of acres into farmland, puttingpublished
> massive quantities of soot and dust into the atmosphere and
>sending quantities of greenhouse gases into the air, that
> the natural course of climate change hasn't been increased in
>the past century.''
> The AGU has issued milder statements on global change in the
>past, with more emphasis on theories about natural
> changes than on evidence of human- caused rapid warming. But
>this statement declared: "Scientific evidence strongly
> indicates that natural influences cannot explain the rapid
>increase in global near-surface temperatures observed in the
> second half of the 20th century."
> Although they cannot yet predict the pace of change, the
>scientists did declare that since 1900 more than 80 percent
> of the atmosphere's heat-trapping carbon dioxide -- the major
>greenhouse gas -- has been caused by fossil fuel burning
> and changes in land use. They also said that levels of the gas
>"may be rising faster than at any time in Earth's history,
> except possibly following rare events like impacts from
> Without specifying numbers, the scientists did make these
>predictions: "Mid-continent warming will be greater than over
> the oceans, and there will be greater warming at higher
>latitudes. Some polar and glacial ice will melt, and the oceans
> will warm; both effects will contribute to higher sea levels.
>There will be considerable regional variations in the resulting
> "The unprecedented increases in greenhouse gas concentrations,
>together with other human influences on climate
> over the past century and those anticipated for the future,
>constitute a real basis for concern."
> In a related development, researchers at the Woods Hole
>Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts are reporting that
> the tropical Atlantic Ocean is much saltier than it was 50
>years ago, according to the Boston Globe.
> Scientists have assumed that global warming would speed
>evaporation in parts of the world's oceans but had no direct
> way of measuring the change. In the Woods Hole study,
>in the journal Nature, scientists estimated thatlast
> tropical evaporation rates increased 10 percent during the
> As a purely scientific organization, the AGU took no stand on
>the politics of the international Kyoto Protocol limiting
> greenhouse gas emissions, which President Bush has refused to
> But the AGU did suggest that continuing scientific research
>"provides a basis for mitigating the harmful effects of global
> climate change through decreased human influences." Among the
>AGU's suggestions: slowing greenhouse gas
> emissions, improving land management practices and removing
>carbon from the atmosphere.
> �2003 San Francisco
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