The state of the climate
I’m going to be very busy over the next week, so posts will be more about pointing you in the direction of interesting stuff (rather than my usual ranting and raving).
I came across a very interesting debate between four scientists over climate change issues. Here are some snippets to whet your appetite before you trot off and read the full article:
- the Earth is now 0.75 degrees Celsius warmer than it was a century and a half ago;
- if we continue with our current trends in burning fossil fuels, the ocean will become more acidic than it has been at any time in the past 65 million years;
- both poles are getting warmer and this is different from the past because both poles did not move together – one pole would lead and the other would follow. Now, ice is melting from both poles at an accelerated rate;
- although the planet warmed in the past, it did so over millions of years and ecosystems could adapt. What we’re seeing now are rates of increase in greenhouse gases and warming that exceed natural rates by a factor of 100;
- we are at a critical point in history – if we don’t stop stuffing up the planet, the scientists believe that geologists in 50 million years (if there are any!) will be able to pinpoint the exact time in history when civilization had developed advanced technology but didn’t develop the wisdom to use it wisely;
- we will have to raise the food supply another two times to feed all of the people that we think will be alive by the latter third of the 21st century;
- to address global warming, we’ll need US$500 billion to get going but ultimately trillions;
- the stratosphere—the upper atmosphere—is cooling while the lower atmosphere and the land surface are warming. This is a sign that greenhouse gases are trapping energy and keeping that energy close to the surface of the earth.
All four scientists have serious academic chops and also address the contrarian view (that climate change is not happening). So if the above hasn’t scared you enough, go here to Discover magazine to read the full article.
And Happy Independence Day to all my US readers!