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Global Warming faster than thought

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  • npat1@juno.com
    ... persuaded ... forests ... published ... last ... Chronicle ... ________________________________________________________________ The best thing to hit the
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 19, 2003
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      >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
      >changing climate.
      > Although the vast majority of climate researchers are
      >that the evidence, combined with computer models,
      > 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
      > change.
      > 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, putting
      > 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
      >extraterrestrial objects."
      > 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
      > impacts.
      > "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 that
      > tropical evaporation rates increased 10 percent during the
      >15 years.
      > 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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