Sunday, December 29, 2013

What Does Catastrophic Climate Change Look Like?

The relationship between global warming and environmental change is complex.  It is difficult to make exact predictions about the progress of global warming and the consequences.  The forecasts by the IPPC incorporate a huge amount of data and they acknowledge a high degree of error.  They recognize, however, that catastrophic consequences are within the realm of possibility if our responses to global warming are inadequate.  This article gives us a description of what a catastrophic climate change event might look like. It is based primarily on the rapid melting of arctic ice that we have been observing.  It is likely, that in the near future, summers in the arctic region will be ice free.  The concern is that large amounts of methane will be released into the atmosphere as the permafrost thaws.  The consequences are dire.  Unfortunately, the melting of the arctic ice will also open up that area to a hunt for oil and other natural resources.  Given human nature, we are more likely to devote resources to industrial expansion than we are to the avoidance of catastrophe. 

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