Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Climate is Changing and that Drives Other Changes

Pakistan Floods
Examples of observed climatic changes:
  • Increase in global average surface temperature of about 1°F in the 20th century
  • Decrease of snow cover and sea ice extent and the retreat of mountain glaciers in the latter half of the 20th century
  • Rise in global average sea level and the increase in ocean water temperatures
  • Likely increase in average precipitation over the middle and high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, and over tropical land areas
  • Increase in the frequency of extreme precipitation events in some regions of the world
Russian peat fires destroying large tracts of land

Blanketing Moscow with smog during Russia's worst heat wave in decades

Examples of observed physical and ecological changes:
  • Thawing of permafrost
  • Lengthening of the growing season in middle and high latitudes
  • Poleward and upward shift of plant and animal ranges
  • Decline of some plant and animal species
  • Earlier flowering of trees
  • Earlier emergence of insects
  • Earlier egg-laying in birds
Large chunks of tundra slump into Arctic Ocean as permafrost thaws

In addition to the immediate human suffering brought on by these events, there will be dramatic food shortages stemming from the floods, fires, and heat that will extend the suffering over many years, and if we don't do something to mitigate the effects of anthropogenic, i.e., human caused, global warming (AGW), far into the foreseeable future.

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