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 user 2005-02-20 at 9:18:00 am Views: 80
  • #10398

    Greenhouse gases ‘do warm oceans
    Scientists say they
    have “compelling” evidence that ocean warming over the past 40 years can be
    linked to the industrial release of carbon dioxide.

    US Researchers compared the rise in ocean temperatures with predictions from
    climate models And found human activity was the most likely cause.

    In coming decades, the warming will have a dramatic impact on regional water
    supplies, they predict.

    Details of the study were released at a major science meeting in Washington

    The conference is the annual gathering of the American Association for the
    Advancement of Science (AAAS).

    ‘High confidence’

    “This is perhaps the most compelling evidence yet that global warming is
    happening right now and it shows that we can successfully simulate its past and
    likely future evolution,” said lead author Tim Barnett, of the climate research
    division at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California.

    “If you take this data and combine it with a decade of earlier results, the
    debate about whether or not there is a global warming signal here and now is
    over at least for rational people.”

    Unless we know what we’re dealing with, I think
    it’s going to be pretty hard to fix it
    The team fed different scenarios into computer simulations to try
    to reproduce the observed rise in ocean temperatures over the last 40 years.

    They used several scenarios to try to explain the oceanic observations,
    including natural climate variability, solar radiation and volcanic emissions,
    but all fell short.

    “What absolutely nailed it was greenhouse warming,” said Dr Barnett.

    This model reproduced the observed temperature changes in the oceans with a
    statistical confidence of 95%, conclusive proof – say the researchers – that
    global warming is being caused by human activities.

    ‘Political action’

    Regional water supplies will be dramatically affected by climate change in
    the decades immediately ahead, say the team.

    The western US is already experiencing water shortages and research suggests
    that the region could face a water crisis within 20 years.

    In the South American Andes and western China, millions of people could be
    left without adequate water during the summer due to accelerated melting of

    “If the snow pack melts sooner, and if societies don’t have the ability catch
    all of that water, they’re going to end up with water shortages in the summer,”
    Dr Barnett explained.

    According to the Scripps researcher, political leadership was now needed to
    avert a global disaster.

    “Hopefully we can get the US cranked around in that direction. I think the
    first thing to do is figure out the global warming-related problems we have
    ahead of us around the world.

    “Unless we know what we’re dealing with, I think it’s going to be pretty hard
    to fix it.”