Sunday, September 27, 2009

The UK Met Office: Catastrophic climate change could happen with 50 years

CLouise Gray in the Telegraph (UK): An average global temperature rise of 7.2F (4C), considered a dangerous tipping point, could happen by 2060, causing droughts around the world, sea level rises and the collapse of important ecosystems, it warns. The Arctic could see an increase in temperatures of 28.8F (16C), while parts of sub Saharan Africa and North America would be devastated by an increase in temperature of up to 18F (10C).

Britain's temperature would rise by the average 7.2F (4C) which would mean Mediterranean summers and an extended growing season for new crops like olives, vines and apricots. However deaths from heat waves will increase, droughts and floods would become more common, diseases like malaria may spread to Britain and climate change refugees from across the world are likely to head to the country.

The Government-funded study, which has been sent to the Department for Energy and Climate Change, included new figures on increased emissions from fossil fuels and considered the effect global warming will have on the ability of the oceans and rainforests to absorb carbon dioxide. … Dr Richard Betts, Head of Climate Impacts at the Met Office Hadley Centre, said the new study showed how important it was to try and reduce emissions.

… The study is being presented today (Monday) at a conference at Oxford University, which consider problems for Britain, such as water shortages in the South East, die back of tree species like beech in the south of the country and the need to build coastal defence around counties like Norfolk. Dr Mark New, of the Oxford University School of Geography and the Environment, said scientists now have a better understanding of the recent increase in carbon emissions because of developing countries like China and India building coal fired power stations.
…He said: "The eventual temperature we reach is a result of the carbon we put in the atmosphere so if we do not reduce emissions faster, the timing is much sooner. The faster the rate of change in getting to four degrees, the less time we have to adapt. Four degrees by the 2050s compared to four degrees by 2100 gives us half as much time to adapt to a new climate and that must have massive implications." …

From a site in Pompei, Cassandra (in the middle) drawing lots with her right hand predicts the downfall of Troy in front of Priam (seated, on the left), Paris (holding the apple of discord) and a warrior leaning on a spear, presumably Hector. Fresco on plaster, 20–30 CE. Shot by Jastrow, who has released the image into the public domain

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