Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Global Climate Warming Faster than Ever

Expand Messages
  • mtneuman@juno.com
    US science body warns on climate http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3325341.stm One of the most influential US science organisations dedicated to studying the
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 21, 2003
    • 0 Attachment
      US science body warns on climate
      http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/3325341.stm

      One of the most influential US science organisations dedicated to
      studying the Earth and its environment says human influence on the
      climate is increasing.

      The American Geophysical Union has just adopted a new policy position on
      global warming in which it states its concern over rising greenhouse gas
      emissions.

      The AGU's council says carbon dioxide concentrations may be climbing
      faster now than at any time in Earth history.

      It calls for concerted worldwide study to understand how Earth will
      change.

      "It is virtually certain that increasing atmospheric concentrations of
      carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will cause global surface
      climate to be warmer," the AGU council statement says.

      "The complexity of the climate system makes it difficult to predict some
      aspects of human-induced climate change: exactly how fast it will occur,
      exactly how much it will change, and exactly where those changes will
      take place."

      Recent meeting

      It continues: "In contrast, scientists are confident in other
      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.

      "The hydrologic cycle will change and intensify, leading to changes in
      water supply as well as flood and drought patterns."

      The AGU has just finished its fall meeting held in San Francisco. As in
      previous years, it heard from researchers whose studies strongly support
      the idea that human influence on climate is real and growing.

      One presentation sought to show that humans had been altering the climate
      for thousands of years, ever since the beginnings of agriculture.

      The AGU said it was imperative scientists worldwide participated in
      climate research. It also called for policy discussions and
      decision-making "to be based upon objective assessment of peer-reviewed
      research results".

      New technologies

      The AGU is one of a number of leading US scientific organisations which
      have adopted a position on climate change that challenges US Government
      policies.

      The US Academy of Sciences has also issued similar sentiments to the AGU.

      The Bush administration and members of the Republican-led Congress have,
      however, frequently criticised what they regard as the poor and uncertain
      science that underpins much of the case for human-induced climate change.

      The US has repudiated the Kyoto Protocol designed to mitigate the effects
      of global warming because it believes America's economic interests would
      be gravely damaged.

      The White House wants greenhouse gas emissions to be cut not by what it
      calls the "command and control" of Kyoto, but by voluntary action and
      development of new energy technologies such as hydrogen-powered fuel
      cells.

      =========================================================
      Earth Warming at Faster Pace, Say Top Science Group's Leaders
      http://www.evworld.com/databases/printit.cfm?pageid=news181203-17

      Statement by American Geophysical Union's council warns temperature
      change is real and human-caused

      Source: San Francisco Chronicle [Dec 18, 2003]

      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 persuaded 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 forests 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, published in the journal Nature,
      scientists estimated that tropical evaporation rates increased 10 percent
      during the last 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 sign.

      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.
      =================
      http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/policy/climate_change_position.html

      Human Impacts on Climate
      Adopted by Council December, 2003

      Human activities are increasingly altering the Earth's climate. These
      effects add to natural influences that have been present over Earth's
      history. Scientific evidence strongly indicates that natural influences
      cannot explain the rapid increase in global near-surface temperatures
      observed during the second half of the 20th century.

      Human impacts on the climate system include increasing concentrations of
      atmospheric greenhouse gases (e.g., carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons
      and their substitutes, methane, nitrous oxide, etc.), air pollution,
      increasing concentrations of airborne particles, and land alteration. A
      particular concern is that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide may be
      rising faster than at any time in Earth's history, except possibly
      following rare events like impacts from large extraterrestrial objects.

      Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations have increased since the
      mid-1700s through fossil fuel burning and changes in land use, with more
      than 80% of this increase occurring since 1900. Moreover, research
      indicates that increased levels of carbon dioxide will remain in the
      atmosphere for hundreds to thousands of years. It is virtually certain
      that increasing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other
      greenhouse gases will cause global surface climate to be warmer.

      The complexity of the climate system makes it difficult to predict some
      aspects of human-induced climate change: exactly how fast it will occur,
      exactly how much it will change, and exactly where those changes will
      take place. In contrast, scientists are confident in other 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. The hydrologic cycle will change and intensify,
      leading to changes in water supply as well as flood and drought patterns.
      There will be considerable regional variations in the resulting impacts.

      Scientists' understanding of the fundamental processes responsible for
      global climate change has greatly improved during the last decade,
      including better representation of carbon, water, and other
      biogeochemical cycles in climate models. Yet, model projections of future
      global warming vary, because of differing estimates of population growth,
      economic activity, greenhouse gas emission rates, changes in atmospheric
      particulate concentrations and their effects, and also because of
      uncertainties in climate models. Actions that decrease emissions of some
      air pollutants will reduce their climate effects in the short term. Even
      so, the impacts of increasing greenhouse gas concentrations would remain.


      The 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change states as
      an objective the "...stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in
      the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic
      interference with the climate system." AGU believes that no single
      threshold level of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere exists
      at which the beginning of dangerous anthropogenic interference with the
      climate system can be defined. Some impacts have already occurred, and
      for increasing concentrations there will be increasing 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.

      Enhanced national and international research and other efforts are needed
      to support climate related policy decisions. These include fundamental
      climate research, improved observations and modeling, increased
      computational capability, and very importantly, education of the next
      generation of climate scientists. AGU encourages scientists worldwide to
      participate in climate research, education, scientific assessments, and
      policy discussions. AGU also urges that the scientific basis for policy
      discussions and decision-making be based upon objective assessment of
      peer-reviewed research results.

      Science provides society with information useful in dealing with natural
      hazards such as earthquakes, hurricanes, and drought, which improves our
      ability to predict and prepare for their adverse effects. While
      human-induced climate change is unique in its global scale and long
      lifetime, AGU believes that science should play the same role in dealing
      with climate change. AGU is committed to improving the communication of
      scientific information to governments and private organizations so that
      their decisions on climate issues will be based on the best science.

      The global climate is changing and human activities are contributing to
      that change. Scientific research is required to improve our ability to
      predict climate change and its impacts on countries and regions around
      the globe. Scientific research provides a basis for mitigating the
      harmful effects of global climate change through decreased human
      influences (e.g., slowing greenhouse gas emissions, improving land
      management practices), technological advancement (e.g., removing carbon
      from the atmosphere), and finding ways for communities to adapt and
      become resilient to extreme events.



      ________________________________________________________________
      The best thing to hit the internet in years - Juno SpeedBand!
      Surf the web up to FIVE TIMES FASTER!
      Only $14.95/ month - visit www.juno.com to sign up today!
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.