Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Global Warming Hits Tipping Point

While some are still debating whether global warming is a problem, scientists looking at Siberia have found that "a vast expanse of western Sibera is undergoing an unprecedented thaw that could dramatically increase the rate of global warming."

They warn that "It is a scenario climate scientists have feared since first identifying 'tipping points' - delicate thresholds where a slight rise in the Earth’s temperature can cause a dramatic change in the environment that itself triggers a far greater increase in global temperatures."

Climate scientists yesterday reacted with alarm to the finding, and warned that predictions of future global temperatures would have to be revised upwards.

"When you start messing around with these natural systems, you can end up in situations where it’s unstoppable. There are no brakes you can apply," said David Viner, a senior scientist at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.

"This is a big deal because you can’t put the permafrost back once it’s gone. The causal effect is human activity and it will ramp up temperatures even more than our emissions are doing."


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