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Study: Climate change irreversible for 1,000 years

dust-bowl-reduxThe global climate changes wrought by rising carbon dioxide emissions are now too late to stop and will linger for more than 1,000 years, according to a new study by researchers in the US and Europe.

“Our study convinced us that current choices regarding carbon dioxide emissions will have legacies that will irreversibly change the planet,” said Susan Solomon, a senior scientist with the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Researchers from Switzerland’s ETH Zurich and France’s Institut Pierre Simon Laplace also participated in the study.

The study modeled several scenarios in which global carbon dioxide levels peak at different concentrations, at which point all future emissions are completely stopped. No matter what level they considered, though, researchers found the results were quantifiable and irreversible impacts on climate.

In the case of carbon dioxide peaking at 450 to 600 parts per million (ppm), compared to today’s level of 385 ppm, several parts of the globe could expect drastic drops in rainfall comparable to the US Dust Bowl of the 1930s. Those regions include southern Europe, northern Africa, southern Africa, southwestern North America and western Australia.

Rising carbon dioxide levels are also “locking in” higher sea levels for centuries to come, the researchers say. Minus even the additional water from melting ice sheets and glaciers, global sea levels would rise at least 2 meters by the year 3000 if carbon dioxide concentrations peak at 1,000 ppm.

The result, the study’s authors write, would be “irreversible commitments to future changes in the geography of the Earth, since many coastal and island features would ultimately become submerged.”

Depressed yet? We are.


  • Frederick J Barclay
    Posted February 7, 2009 at 11:44 am

    My book ” Fuel cells, Engines, Hydrogen, an exergy approach” offers a way to stop and reverse climate change. The ongoing equilibrium between acid seas and CO2 laden air imperils the food chain via adverse conditions for corals and plankton. The equilibrium needs to be rebalanced. The heat engine must be phased out world wide from its roles as power system and means of vehicle propulsion. The relacement drives must be fuel cells using “isothermal oxidation” to get a huge increase in efficiency of use of fossil fuels of up to 400%. There must be “hydrogen wells” as in book to provide cheap and plentiful hydrogen. The seas can be sweetened and the air purified. Discussion welcome. F J Barclay Tel 0207 987 2633 Studio 23B Limehouse Cut,46 Morris Rd, Poplar, London E14 6NQ See website for push button for easy purchase of book from Amazon.

  • My Humble Opinion
    Posted January 27, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    Irreversible, that is a strong reality to comprehend. 1,000 years!!!

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