Tuesday, April 22, 2008

More hotheads

Two more groups of scaremongers out to undermine our way of life.

- On January 24, the American Geophysical Union declared that "the Earth's climate is now clearly out of balance and is warming." It said that
[m]any components of the climate system - including the temperatures of the atmosphere, land and ocean, the extent of sea ice and mountain glaciers, the sea level, the distribution of precipitation, and the length of seasons - are now changing at rates and in patterns that are not natural and are best explained by the increased atmospheric abundances of greenhouse gases and aerosols generated by human activity during the 20th century.
- And on February 5, The Independent (UK) reported that a group of 36 leading climate scientists (who also obtained the informed comment of 52 more) had determined
[n]ine ways in which the Earth could be tipped into a potentially dangerous state that could last for many centuries....

Most and probably all of the nine scenarios are likely to be irreversible on a human timescale once they pass a certain threshold of change, and the widespread effects of the transition to the new state will be felt for generations to come, the scientists said. ...

The nine elements range from the melting of polar ice sheets to the collapse of the Indian and West African monsoons.
Some, like the complete melt of Greenland's ice, could take centuries to complete. But the critical point is that for each one of the nine scenarios, the tipping point - the point at which the effects become self-perpetuating and may no longer be reversible - could be reached before the end of the century. And in some cases, such as the disappearance of summer ice in the Arctic or the collapse of the Indian monsoon, it could come within a few years.

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