Thursday, May 31, 2007

NASA: Dangerous Impacts of Climate Change Just 10 Years Away

ABC News covering Dr. James Hansen's new article in the scientific journal, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics:

The new NASA release emphasizes the danger of "strong amplifying feedbacks" pushing Earth past "dangerous tipping points."

Scientists have been warning for several years that such tipping points are the greatest threat from manmade global warming — and what makes it potentially catastrophic for civilization.

'Potentially Uncontrollable' Feedback Loops

As the tipping points pass, "there is an acceleration, potentially uncontrollable, of emissions of vast natural stores of greenhouse gas," according to Hansen, who reviewed the study for ABC News today.

Hansen explains that dangerous feedback loops are being tracked in various regions of the planet.

Many studies have reported feedback loops already observed in thawing tundra, seabeds and drying forests.

Hansen also points out that dark — and therefore heat-absorbing — forests are now expanding toward the Arctic, replacing lighter-colored areas such as tundra and snow cover.

As a scientist, I follow news of what scientists and local peoples are observing around the globe with regard to climate change, so this really doesn't come as any surprise.

It's also in line with "The Big Thaw" of the world's glaciers documented in the new National Geographic.

The time for action is now - and not just baby steps and talk of gradual changes by 2020. We need cars boosted to 40+ mpg now, or we won't be driving in many areas sooner than later because they'll be under water.

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