Global warming dangers close at hand

Articles
February 26, 2009

Global warming dangers close at hand

Having just learned of a new double whammy on global warming, few of us will be feeling warmer or cozier on this cold winter night. Blow #1: People are adding carbon to the atmosphere even faster than in the 1990s, according to Christopher Field of the Carnegie Institution for Science, who delivered this insight at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science last week. Blow #2: The Earth is a lot closer to extreme weather disruptions and mounting threats to animals and plants than previously believed. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated our severe weather risk would rise with a global average temperature increase of between 1.8 degrees F and 3.6 degrees F above 1990 levels, according to an Associated Press account. Global temperatures have already risen by 0.22 degree since 1990, said the National Climatic Data Center. “It is now more likely than not that human activity has contributed to observed increases in heat waves, intense precipitation events, and the intensity of tropical cyclones,” said the research team headed by Joel B. Smith, Stratus Consulting, Boulder, CO. The researchers reported that “increases in drought, heat waves and floods are projected in many regions and would have adverse impacts, including increased water stress, wildfire frequency and flood risks starting at less than (1.8 degrees) of additional warming above 1990 levels,” said AP. The report appears in this week’s online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Having just learned of a new double whammy on global warming, few of us will be feeling warmer or cozier on this cold winter night.

Blow #1:  People are adding carbon to the atmosphere even faster than in the 1990s, according to Christopher Field of the Carnegie Institution for Science, who delivered this insight at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science last week.

Blow #2: The Earth is a lot closer to extreme weather disruptions and mounting threats to animals and plants than previously believed. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimated our severe weather risk would rise with a global average temperature increase of between 1.8 degrees F and 3.6 degrees F above 1990 levels, according to an Associated Press account.  Global temperatures have already risen by 0.22 degree since 1990, said the National Climatic Data Center.

“It is now more likely than not that human activity has contributed to observed increases in heat waves, intense precipitation events, and the intensity of tropical cyclones,” said the research team headed by Joel B. Smith, Stratus Consulting, Boulder, CO. The researchers reported that “increases in drought, heat waves and floods are projected in many regions and would have adverse impacts, including increased water stress, wildfire frequency and flood risks starting at less than (1.8 degrees) of additional warming above 1990 levels,” said AP. The report appears in this week’s online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

According to Field, carbon dioxide and other industrial gases are the culprits behind rising temperatures that could lead to major changes in weather and climate. He said carbon emissions have risen sharply, at a rate of 3.5% a year since 2000, well above the 0.9% annual rate in the 1990s, AP reported.

If ever there was a case of self-inflicted hurt, it is global warming, believes SupermarketGuru.com. The deaths of thousands in the European heat wave of 2003, and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, underscore our vulnerability—especially since worldwide we still seem to lack good strategies for adapting to such weather extremities.

The new Obama administration has much to rectify that stems from bad human behavior. While there’s still time left to help re-stabilize our environments, SupermarketGuru.com urges that attention and resources be prioritized to quell global warming dangers—or the price may be greater than any of us could ever imagine.  The world is in this together, of course, and international outreach, cooperation and scientific sharing will be paramount.