NAtio NAl s Now ANd iCe d At A Ce Nter
A comparison of Arctic sea ice age in September 2007 (left) and
September 2008 (right) shows the increase in thin first-year ice
(red) and the decline in thick multi-year ice (orange and yellow).
White indicates areas of ice below about 50 percent, for which ice
age cannot be determined.
The revelations at AAAS came on the heels of a new
journal article by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration’s Susan Solomon, co-chair of the 2007
IPCC Working Group I. In “Irreversible Climate Change
Due to Carbon Dioxide Emissions,” published in the Feb.
10 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, she and her co-authors argue that “climate change that
takes place due to increases in carbon dioxide concentration
is largely irreversible for more than 1,000 years after emissions stop.” Model results cited in the paper indicate that
if atmospheric carbon dioxide rises from its current level
of 386 parts per million to 450–600 ppm, impacts include
“irreversible dry-season rainfall reductions in several regions
comparable to those of the ‘dust bowl’ era as well as inexorable sea level rise.”
Solomon has a reputation for stating findings in a scientific, objective and understated manner. When she starts
talking about irreversible impacts this century in several
locations around the world that are akin to the American
Dust Bowl of the 1930s, we should all take climate change
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