Friday, March 03, 2006

Climate Predictions for the year 3000

In a recently released report from the British
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, Climate Change on the Millennial Timescale [full report .pdf], the authors warn of an apocalyptic future for planet Earth. It is the first study to examine comprehensively the impacts of global warming beyond the end of this century. It calls for continued efforts to cut the emission of global-warming gases to prevent the changes from getting out of control.

Major findings of the report include:

1. Global warming could have more than quadrupled, with temperature rises of as much as 15C, if we continue burning fossil fuels

2. Sea levels will still be rising at the end of this millennium and the total increase could reach 11.4 metres. This dwarfs estimates made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that sea levels will rise by between 16cm and 69cm by the 2080s

3. Anything more than a two-metre rise would flood large areas of Bangladesh, Florida and many low-lying cities, and displace hundreds of millions of people

4. Abrupt climate changes are possible even after emissions cease because changes may be set in motion that cannot be stopped

5. The acidity of the oceans will fall significantly, posing a threat to marine organisms such as corals and plankton. That, in turn, would affect the whole marine ecosystem

6. The changes could be even greater than this if the climate turns out to be more sensitive to greenhouse gas emissions than the study assumes.

Article from the Times Online

NOTE: The photo above represents what areas of South Florida would be inundated with water if sea level rose just 3.3 ft. For you curious ones out there, a 1.5 ft rise in sea level will typically cause a shoreward retreat of coastline of about 150 ft if the land is relatively flat. (Source:
2004 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, Impact of a Warming Arctic, Highlights) If that ratio rises linearly, the estimated sea level rise from the Tyndall study would cause a shoreward retreat of coastline of about 3740 ft. That's 0.71 miles of shorline! Miami, New York, DC, New Orleans, London, Nice...

From today's NY Times: Antarctic Ice Sheet Is Melting Rapidly, New Study Warns Of Rising Sea Levels


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