24 Nov 2009: Report

The Copenhagen Diagnosis:
Sobering Update on the Science

On the eve of the Copenhagen conference, a group of scientists has issued an update on the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Their conclusions? Ice at both poles is melting faster than predicted, the claims of recent global cooling are wrong, and world leaders must act fast if steep temperature rises are to be avoided.

by elizabeth kolbert

Ahead of talks in Copenhagen, a group of leading climate scientists has issued a new report summarizing the most recent research findings from around the world and concluding that scientists have underestimated the pace and extent of global warming. The report — titled “The Copenhagen Diagnosis” — finds that in several key areas observed changes are outstripping the most recent projections by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and warns that “there is a very high probability of the warming exceeding 2 °C unless global emissions peak and start to decline rapidly” within the next decade.

The report points to dramatic declines in Arctic sea ice, recent measurements that show a large net loss of ice from both Greenland and Antarctica, and the relatively rapid rise in global sea levels — 3.4 millimeters per year — as particular reasons for concern. Sea-level rise this century, it states, “is likely to be at least twice as large” as predicted by the most recent IPCC report, issued in 2007, with an upper limit of roughly two meters.

“Sea level is rising much faster and Arctic sea ice cover shrinking more rapidly than we previously expected,” Stefan Rahmstorf, department head at Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said in a press release accompanying the report. “Unfortunately, the data now show us that we have underestimated the climate crisis in the past.”

According to the report, which was released today, there are several
Several elements of the climate system could reach a ‘tipping point’ in coming decades.
elements of the climate system that could reach a “tipping point” in coming decades if current emissions trends continue. The report notes that even at current greenhouse gas concentrations, it is already “very likely” that a “summer ice-free Arctic is inevitable.” The Greenland Ice sheet, too, the report warns, “may be nearing a tipping point where it is committed to shrink.”

The report’s 26 authors include scientists from Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Canada, the U.S., and Australia. Most were also authors of the last IPCC report, and donated their time to draft “The Copenhagen Diagnosis.” The University of New South Wales’ Climate Change Research Centre provided logistical support.

“We thought that the IPCC report from 2007 was a superb report, but of course science doesn’t stand still,” Richard Somerville, a climate modeler and professor emeritus as the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, said. “And we thought it would be helpful if we could provide some kind of updated assessment.”

In an e-mail message from Antarctica, where he is doing fieldwork, Robert Bindschadler, of NASA, said the group had been prompted to write the report by “the rapidity and serious consequences of climate change.”

Georg Kaser, a glaciologist at the University of Innsbruck, said he hoped policymakers would respond to the report by deciding to “totally phase out fossil-fuel burning within the next two decades.”

“Dreaming is allowed,” he added. “Frankly speaking, I would not like to be a policymaker that has just two options: one, phasing out fossil fuel burning immediately, or two, committing our society to major and long-lasting changes in the climate system.”

The report was already completed but not released by the time world leaders, including President Obama, announced in Singapore on Nov. 15 that they had abandoned the goal of reaching a legally binding agreement in Copenhagen. Since then, several countries have announced
The report states that ‘global cooling’ has not occurred over the past decade.
commitments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, including South Korea, which last week pledged to a cut of 20 percent below “business as usual” by 2020, and Brazil, which promised reductions of 40 percent below current projections by 2030. But the United States, with some of the highest per capita emissions in the world and the second-highest overall emissions, after China, has made no commitment, and legislation to curb emissions, which narrowly passed the House this year, is not expected to be taken up by the U.S. Senate until after the Copenhagen session is over.

Andrew Weaver, a climate modeler at Canada’s University of Victoria and one of the authors of “The Copenhagen Diagnosis,” said he found the announcement that world leaders were abandoning the goal of reaching a binding agreement this year “unacceptable.”

He went on: “Maybe they should be honest, and stand up and say, ‘You know what? As your political leaders we do not accept that we owe anything to future generations.’ I don’t think they’d ever say that, but this is what they are saying if they don’t deal with this problem.”

“The Copenhagen Diagnosis” is not the first report to warn that climate change is occurring even more rapidly than had been predicted by the IPCC. Indeed, the UN itself has made this point. In September, the United Nations Environment Program released its “Climate Change Science Compendium 2009.” In the foreword of that report, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon noted that “climate change is accelerating at a much faster pace than was previously thought by scientists.” He warned: “Unless we act, we will see catastrophic consequences including rising sea levels, droughts and famine, and the loss of up to a third of the world’s plant and animal species.”

“The Copenhagen Diagnosis” is explicitly aimed at “policy-makers, stakeholders, the media and the broader public” on the eve of the international climate talks that begin on Dec. 7. It takes up several questions of the sort not typically addressed in scientific forums, but frequently raised on the Internet and in the press. One of these is whether the
‘We see changes that we did not anticipate two or three years ago.’
Earth’s atmosphere is already saturated with carbon dioxide. The answer to this question, the report says, is “Not even remotely. It isn’t even saturated on the runaway greenhouse planet Venus, with its atmosphere made up of 96% CO2 and a surface temperature of 467 °C.” Similarly, the report states, “global cooling” has not occurred over the past decade, “contrary to claims promoted by lobby groups and picked up in some media.” In fact, “even the highly ‘cherry-picked’ 11-year period starting with the warm 1998 and ending with the cold 2008 still shows a warming trend of 0.11 °C per decade,” the report concludes.

The report notes that in recent years, solar output has been at a low ebb. Meanwhile, warming has continued: “It is perhaps noteworthy that despite the extremely low brightness of the sun over the past three years temperature records have been broken during this time… The years 2007, 2008 and 2009 had the lowest summer Arctic sea ice cover ever recorded, and in 2008 for the first time in living memory the Northwest Passage and the Northeast Passage were simultaneously ice-free. This feat was repeated in 2009. Every single year of this century (2001-2008) has been among the top ten warmest years since instrumental records began.”

More from Yale e360

As Effects of Warming Grow,
UN Report is Quickly Dated

The 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was a voluminous and impressive document. Yet key portions of the report are already out of date, as evidence shows the impacts of warming intensifying from the Arctic to Antarctica.

Coming to Copenhagen:
Prospects for Success?

With prospects waning that a binding accord on reducing greenhouse gas emissions can be reached at the climate talks in Copenhagen next month, ten environmental leaders and climate experts outline for Yale Environment 360 what they believe can still be accomplished.
Konrad Steffen, a glaciologist at the University of Colorado who recently returned from taking measurements on Antarctica, said, “We as scientists wanted to make sure we provided all possible information. We tried to stay away from judgment calls — you wouldn’t believe the lengthy emails that we had — but on the other hand we wanted to make sure the urgency is there. We want to tell people it is urgent. We see changes that we did not anticipate two or three years ago.”

Gavin Schmidt, a NASA climate scientist who was not involved in “The Copenhagen Diagnosis,” said he thought the report was scientifically sound, but questioned whether it would have much impact on its target audience. “Knowing exactly how fast emissions are rising, or sea ice is melting, is useful and interesting, but my guess is that it will not have much effect on the delegates, since it doesn't address the actual equity and political issues that are at the heart of the slow movement towards an agreement,” said Schmidt.

Richard Somerville, of Scripps, acknowledged that scientific information — up-to-the minute or otherwise — was often ignored at climate negotiations.

“I’ve been to several of these meetings,” he said. “The delegates and the leaders say very kind things about the IPCC and thank it for its excellent work. But then, from a scientist’s point of view, once the negotiations start they might as well be negotiating, say, steel tariffs. I’ve actually heard politicians say — I won’t name any names — ‘We don’t want to be constrained by the science.’” But, he added, that only makes it more essential to get the information out.

“Not politicians and not money and not public opinion, but the climate system itself imposes a time scale,” Somerville said. “And if the world chooses not to stick within that, well, Mother Nature bats last.”

POSTED ON 24 Nov 2009 IN Biodiversity Climate Oceans Policy & Politics Antarctica and the Arctic 

COMMENTS


But the prospects are gloomy. In the third world, China, India & Indonesia are all developing rapidly with their energy programs focused on dirty coal burning power plants. What we need to do is get real and get real now.

1) switch to clean nuclear power generation,
2) increase in taxes for fossil fuel burning cars, subsidies for electric cars

That would be a massive start, IMO.

Posted by tempo dulu on 24 Nov 2009


Elizabeth,

It's potentially even worse than the Copenhagen Diagnosis. There's another factor that could lead to greater warming than we expect, as a forthcoming article in Geophysical Research Letters suggests---IPCC models may actually be overpredicting the strength of carbon sinks. I describe it here:

http://www.globalchangeblog.com/2009/11/climate-warming-worse-than-previously-thought-because-plants-become-nutrient-starved/


Posted by Phil Camill on 24 Nov 2009


In the context of this article, I think it may be worth pointing out once again that the present impasse leading up to the Copenhagen summit is an instance of the well-known "game of chicken" (see the discussion, for example, http://climatechange.thinkaboutit.eu/think2/featured/are_we_chicken_enough/). The reason nobody has blinked yet, I believe, is that while this drama is being played out as if it were between countries, it is really the well-to-do who are going to have to change their life style, no matter what country they live in. The well-to-do are also the ones who will be least affected by climate change, at least initially. Unfortunately, all the delegates heading to Copenhagen, and their friends and employers, will be from the well-to-do camp.

Posted by Timothy F. Havel on 25 Nov 2009


All highly selective and dismissive of contrary evidence--overwhelming in the sense that it more or less neutralizes the cherry picked evidence the catastrophists like to put on display.

When Drakes passage opened up a few centuries back it didn't make the news--nobody was there to see it but the penguins and Patagonians. But at some point it did, and centuries later (in 1912) the Australian explorer, John King Davis, sailed over open Antarctic seas that had been mapped as land only 70 years earlier. In 1778 Capt. Cook encountered ubiquitous Arctic pack ice which he estimated at 10 to 12 feet high--i.e., about 100 feet thick. All this global warming occurred in fairly recent times and without the help of any fossil CO2 to speak of.

The data from the Faulklands indicate falling sea levers--1cm/year for the past 30 years (as of 2004)--doesn't sound very threatening. The point being, for every bit of doomsday data the alarmists produce, we can point out a contrary bit to put the scene in perspective.

When we compare the ice core lines of the late Pleistocene, we see CO2 and methane forced ultimately by Milankovitch cycles by way of ice sheet extension and temperature. There is no evidence of amplification of T by CO2--this is an irrational credo held by the alarmists for which there has never been good evidence. And now we see clear indications of wholesale manipulation of modern data intended to keep on life support the most widespread scientific fraud of modern times.

AGW dogma serves to distinguish the inept priests of doom from honest and capable scientists, and rational, dissenting heretics from the dupes of the inept and corrupt clergy. --AGF

Posted by A G Foster on 25 Nov 2009


Love it when the AGF's of the world get their science on in order to discount global warming and beat back the "alarmist." One doesn't even need to point to raising sea levels to be alarmist. We are destroying every single facet of our natural closed loop environment at pace.

Warming is just a foot note and everyone knows we are not going to turn off the coal power plants tomorrow whether it be here, China, or anywhere. But no worries, because we are running a relay with a host of other incredibly destructive batons besides coal: unfettered water pollution, unregulated chemical pollution, unsustainable farming and animal practices, and a numbing of the relationship between wealth and humanity that will only serve to rip apart the fabric that might otherwise allow us to bond over something as basic as "clean."

John King Davis can sail to hell and back, it doesn't mean we are not rolling the dice with our kids future. We are. And that is not alarmist.

Posted by bernini on 26 Nov 2009


After the Hadley CRU scandal, anyone who takes AGW data at face value is likely to get badly embarrassed. But here's a simple way to check it for yourself. Pick up an old atlas at a second-hand bookstore and look up some of the low-lying islands that are allegedly threatened by rising sea levels. Fire up Google Earth and compare the modern size and shape of these islands. Notice any coastline missing? So far 'global warming' has not done away with one shred or particle of land surface.


Posted by Jon Jermey on 27 Nov 2009


Re: Jon Jermey, A G Foster

You denialists are funny...tens of thousands of scientists spend their life studying the issue but you of course know better, Jon by looking in his old school atlas and AG by taking one one quick look at a graph he doesn't understand.

"There is no evidence of amplification of T by CO2"...if you actually read the article you're commenting under you'd find an excellent example mentioned: Venus. (that T increase CO2 in the ice-core graph you're talking about doesn't mean that CO2 can't also increase T)

...CO2 has been recognized as a greenhouse gas since 1859 - you've had plenty time to disprove
that.

Posted by DT on 27 Nov 2009


The most telling words in this report are : "Most were also authors of the last IPCC report, and donated their time to draft “The Copenhagen Diagnosis.” The University of New South Wales’ Climate Change Research Centre provided logistical support."

These are hardly unbiased scientists. We now know from the leaked emails (climategate), that anyone with a contrary view had his input suppressed. So these ones still on the IPCC by definition of Phil Jones, the head of it, have to be the ones who agree with him.

Further, the NSW climate research centre is also a player in this farce of global warming, as it would not exist unless it did support the theory. No money for the Uni for sceptics.

As most Universities around the world are strapped for cash, they have found that establishing a climate change research centre which left wing governments will fund, is the way to push more money into the Uni. I would like to know exactly what these units actually do. They cant be doing basic research on temperature modeling or they would have picked up Dr Phil Jones error before Steve McIntyre did.

Re the Antarctica: It is known that one section has receded, but overall there has been an increased thickness of ice. Re the Arctic, it is well known from the historical records that the ice has come and gone over the years without any noticeable rise in sea levels.

We also see top Russian scientist Oleg Sorokhtin recently on Russia Today saying that over the past 1000 years, the earth has actually cooled slightly (.3deg), with blips up and down. The earth alternates between hot and seriously cold periods every 60,000 years or so.

A recent publication by Finnish researchers has tree ring samples going back 7,000 years, which they say shows that there is a 60 yo 90 year phase between heating and cooling. They are predicting cooling by 2050. All this shows that there is plenty of more science to be done, and heard.

Posted by xyzlatin on 29 Nov 2009


I think that it might be instructive if less notice be taken of possible physical changes in the condition of Earth, and more notice taken of possible biological and chemical changes. It seems well documented that the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere has changed, is changing and will continue to change - in an upward direction. I make no comment on the cause of that change, but its biological and chemical effects may be much more important than any amount "warming"?

While the Earth's atmosphere may or may not be warming due to mankind, and Vicky Pope - whom I have known since she was but a gleam in her father's eye - thinks so, there may well be a much more immediate and universal peril confronting us. More to do with Chemistry and Biology than Physics.

I suggest that one aspect of Science in connection with Climate Change has received scant attention so far. See:
www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/climatechange_grunhausproject.pdf

Acidity and pH is on a log scale, a small change can have a very large chemical and physiological impact. See: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2005/07/the-acid-ocean-the-other-problem-with-cosub2sub-emission/

Re: possible impacts with Virus proliferation due to CO2 induced increased atmospheric acidity. If this is happening then there is a likely connection to what is happening in the Ukraine. For instance see: http://blogs.healthfreedomalliance.org/blog/category/pandemic/ukraine/

It may be that our health could be more at risk from Climate Change than our warmth?

Posted by ferrand stobart on 30 Nov 2009


What a farce. You're using summary info from NASA. Have you ever asked NASA why they won't release the raw climate data? Is it polluted like the rest of the climate data?

Posted by Matt Leads on 06 Dec 2009


It is simply beyond understanding that the climate conversation obsesses on the most obscure aspects of uncertainty, and fails utterly to consider appropriate responses. In 2008 the United States electric utilities spent $3.1 billion on end-use efficiency programs, about eight tenths of one percent of all electric spending. That spending caused savings of more than $9 billion, and were largely concentrated in a handful of states. If the entire U.S. spent as much as the strong states we would triple the spending, triple the savings and be most of the way to a climate solution.

The whole climate solution depends on how much money we want to save, and how fast. It takes a couple of minutes to convince an intelligent and open-minded person that there is a huge efficiency gap. We are in fact in a recession in part because other nations took efficiency more seriously than we, and our resultant oil imports slapped us about the head a few times, taking natural gas with it.

If we take this seriously, we do enough efficiency to pay for about twice as much renewables as we are installing today, and in twenty-five years we have the electric sector off fossil fuels. It gets too complicated for a forum comment, but the electric sector leads climate response and leads economic recovery, at the same time.

Not to mention ocean pH change, which any grade school child can understand, and which is completely irreversible in our lives.

Posted by Ned Ford on 07 Dec 2009


I read with pleasure the included comments of Dr. Richard Somerville, climate modeler and professor emeritus as the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Scripps was specifically mentioned as having broken the news about CO2 and "global heating" in 1959 (!). In 1959 a speech in part about global warming as a reason to move beyond fossil fuels was given by none other than the real-life version of "Dr. Strangelove":

"I would like to talk to you about a more hypothetical difficulty which I think is quite probably going to turn out to be real. Whenevel you burn conventional fuel, you create carbon dioxide...I think that this chemical contamination is more serious than most people tend to believe."

It is crazy that anyone has ever opposed the basic high school science of this. Please note that the entire oil industry at its 100th anniversary celebration, in 1959 at Columbia University in NYC, received four main speakers, one of which was the rock star of future energy of his time, the above mentioned Dr. Edward Teller, a leading proponent of developing nuclear fusion. He spent three pages in his "Energy Patterns of the Future" manuscript spelling out the reality of global warming and an inkling of the dangers it represented if not seriously defeated by the 1990s. The short text from the "Energy and Man" symposium record is worth reading today at the above URL link. Or you can stumble upon the text in a book of the same title sitting in many university libraries as I did during my PhD studies.

We have now waited literally until past the zero hour to react, and the gathering problems become harder to address with each passing day. Let's get to it.

Posted by Paul M. Suckow on 07 Dec 2009


The appeals of common humanity didn't work; “The Copenhagen Diagnosis” didn't work: it couldn't touch the hearts of heartless delegates of Copenhagen, their friends and employers, because they were from the well-to-do camp and they were also the ones who would be least affected by climate change, at least initially.. Thanks to the scientists who were devoted and determined to make sure that they provided all possible information on the eve of the international climate talks. The Prime minister of Nepal had carried a stone from Mt. Everest to pinpoint the appeal that there were now stones in stead of ice. The faint cries faded unheard, unnoticed. Neither the stone from Mt. Everest nor the information given by the scientists could touch the blackened callous hearts of the policy-makers of the world.

The commoners had high hopes from Mr. Obama that he would represent the grass root reality of the matter. During the campaign and since his election victory, he had made it clear that he finally intended to change the way America powers itself. Alas! At last, he too, didn't or couldn't.

Why not to appeal now to the scientists of the world to put all their efforts to work on the ways to produce cheap alternative energy, like solar energy, so that the black clouds of the fossil oil will not be able to hide the unlimited clean energy of the world? Now it is in the hands of the scientists. Let's not lose hope.


Posted by Padam Pande on 09 Jan 2010


It's time to work together, developed countries, developing countries and under develop countries. All countries actually have a share in this global warming, especially industrial countries. They give a bigger share in polluting the air with COx and NOx gases. They have to spend more money helping developing countries to conserve the forest. In the other hand, developing countries have to reduce their fossil energy and turning them to the cleaner energy. So let's work together to make a better world, for all of us and for our children.

Posted by arief on 19 Jan 2010


Twenty-six climatologists — including 14 IPCC members — have released a startling update to the panel’s work, reporting that sea levels could rise and methane-laden arctic permafrost could melt much sooner than the panel had anticipated. The IPCC’s prediction for average sea-level rise this century is 13 inches (if global warming continues unchecked). Today’s report from a group of climatologist ups the prediction to 33 inches. This is what the difference looks like on a pair of identical twins. That is a really grim view in the future. We have to come together and act fast.

Posted by Peter on 21 Jan 2010


I hate to draw the conclusion that despite the best efforts of the politicians in all the different countries around the world I don't think really very much is being done on the ground to reduce our Co2 emissions. When my waste collection is collected despite the fact Ive separated it, it is all collected in the same dump truck which then still goes to landfill.

Posted by Don brad on 21 Jan 2010


What people need to realize is that we are already behind here, and anything that we do is remedial, not preventative. It's unfortunate that we have gotten to this point, but when we're talking about sea level rising as much as 33 inches, we have reached a state of emergency. It really is time to join forces and do anything and everything possible so that there is some semblance of nature left for our children and grandchildren...

Posted by Devon Holden on 23 Jan 2010


I agree with you.

Twenty-six climatologists — including 14 IPCC members — have released a startling update to the panel’s work, reporting that sea levels could rise and methane-laden arctic permafrost could melt much sooner than the panel had anticipated. The IPCC’s prediction for average sea-level rise this century is 13 inches (if global warming continues unchecked). Today’s report from a group of climatologist ups the prediction to 33 inches. This is what the difference looks like on a pair of identical twins. That is a really grim view in the future. We have to come together and act fast.

Posted by pariuri on 26 Jan 2010


“Not politicians and not money and not public opinion, but the climate system itself imposes a time scale,” Somerville said. “And if the world chooses not to stick within that, well, Mother Nature bats last.”

For me that sums it up.

Posted by Simon on 27 Jan 2010


It's sad when most "scientific" findings that reaches the masses does so by being sponsored by someone with a strong agenda.

Posted by Simon Byholm on 05 Feb 2010


The numbers from the last IPCC are a lower bound because it was recognized at the time that there was a lot of uncertainty about ice sheets. The numerical models used at the time did not have a complete representation of outlet glaciers and their interactions with the ocean. The results gathered in the last 2-3 years show that these are fundamental aspects that cannot be overlooked. As a result of the acceleration of outlet glaciers over large regions, the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are already contributing more and faster to sea level rise than anticipated. If this trend continues, we are likely to witness sea level rise one meter or more by year 2100.

Posted by Setiawan on 14 Feb 2010


Higher temperatures are also likely to increase the amount of snowfall over central Greenland and Antarctica. The higher snowfall is likely to offset part of the sea level rise from other factors because the additional snow is composed of water that would otherwise be in the ocean. All developed countries have to act now.

http://www.e360.yale.edu/


Posted by Kay on 21 Feb 2010


Anyone who understands whole systems theory understands that what may be good for one part may not be good for the other parts or for the whole. The ten high level threats to humanity place poverty first, infectious disease first. There is NOBODY on the planet, less the Earth Intelligence Network (unfunded 501c3) that has a holistic approach to eradicating the ten high level threats by harmonizing the twelve core policies from Agriculture to Water. Nothing happening in Copenhagen will make a difference UNLESS the world leaders agree to stop lying to each other, to fund an independent World Brain with an embedded EarthGame, and to commit themselves to "the truth at any cost," this being so necessary because the truth at any cost lowers ALL other costs.

Posted by Den on 06 Mar 2010


This climate change is really happening. In my city, we are experiencing some 7-8 degree C rise compared to last year. To make people aware of the climate change, we even participated in Greenathon today. It's right time that we do something to make a difference.

Posted by anita on 07 Mar 2010


I have been looking at the continuing increases in CO2 emissions and noticed that there has been an “exponential” jump in the level of emissions starting in January of 2010 according to the Mauna Loa Observatory. I also have noted that UNSW’s Climate Change Research Center has concluded that the tipping point for acidification of the oceans will occur at around a concentration of 450 ppm, and not the 550 ppm that the IPCC in their report had anticipated.

What is so distressing about the recent observed CO2 emissions is that for the first 4 months of 2010 the total added has been 5.04 parts per million.
(387.35 was the total as of Dec 2009, Jan was 1.22 for the month, Feb 1.47 etc. as in the chart below taken from the web page at the observatory ->

http://co2now.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=22&Itemid=1



387.35      Dec-09      
388.57      Jan-10      1.22
390.04      Feb-10      1.47
391.11      Mar-10      1.07
392.39      Apr-10      1.28
      

This amount of CO2 per month is approximately equivalent to the ANNUAL amount of CO2 generated by the planet during the period of 1977, 1978, 1979 and 1980.

http://spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?key=0Ai80TOjOCPUndHBoLWRyWFR2OEViQVRSdThHTnZSRkE&hl=en

At this rate of change, if it continues, the tipping point from what I can see from my completely unprofessional amateur interpretation looks like it will be reached in about 4 years hence – if this is an indication of a new trend. This is in contrast to the predicted time frame of 30 or so years based on the observation oft quoted of CO2 emissions increasing at the rate of 2 ppm per year.

Would it be possible for someone from WHOI to get back to me and tell me if I am interpreting all of this data correctly, and if so, what exactly does this mean?

It would appear to me that the situation is dire, deteriorating rapidly, and that mass extinctions will start to take place sometime in the future if this trend continues and is left unchecked. Furthermore, the future looks to be quite imminent. Am I getting this right, or not? There has been no reporting that I have seen on this at all.


Posted by Frank Brunelle on 15 May 2010


It's sad when most "scientific" findings that reaches the masses does so by being sponsored by someone with a strong agenda.

Posted by Fragman on 05 Jun 2010


It is indefensible, in my opinion, that so many countries, companies and citizens of the world are still in denial.

There will be a cold day in WI, where I'm from, and someone will say, "so much for global warming," in an off the cuff "screw Al Gore and his lightbulbs" sort of way. And it's horribly sad, as it just reinforces the denial. And the reinforced denial allows people to ignore the problem, not do anything to change, and just go about their lives in the same way they did before.

Hey, who knows if we can turn it around. But we shouldn't ignore it. We shouldn't stop each other from trying to do what we can to be better stewards of our planet.

Posted by Meg Meyer on 08 Jun 2010


It seems a shame that there isn't a general consensus on the ice-cap and climate change. With something to focus on then we could all concentrate on making the world better, but instead we're reduced to bickering amongst ourselves :/

Posted by Wayne Rooney on 16 Jun 2010


As most Universities around the world are strapped for cash, they have found that establishing a climate change research centre which left wing governments will fund, is the way to push more money into the Uni. I would like to know exactly what these units actually do. They cant be doing basic research on temperature modeling or they would have picked up Dr Phil Jones error (check in http://wwwcrashcanada.com )before Steve McIntyre did.

Why not to appeal now to the scientists of the world to put all their efforts to work on the ways to produce cheap alternative energy, like solar energy, so that the black clouds of the fossil oil will not be able to hide the unlimited clean energy of the world? Now it is in the hands of the scientists. Let's not lose hope.

Posted by michael jamil on 13 Jul 2010


It's the ultimate time when we act soon.
Surely the global leader must act towards the
common benefit of our environment as well as
our endangered society. It's true that Global
Warming has been causing the main concern
over the ice-melting in the poles as well as in
other parts of the world.
Carbon emission rate is up warding in the
developed countries where least-technology
based instruments or eco-friendly techniquies
are not being used.
At the same time industrialized countries
cannot avoid there responsibilities.
But there are some common mismatch in
various reports regarding sea-level water rising.
The IPCC’s prediction for average sea-level rise
this century is 13 inches (if global warming
continues unchecked). Today’s report from a
group of climatologist ups the prediction to 33
inches. This is what the difference looks like on a
pair of identical twins. That is a really grim view
in the future. We have to come together and act
fast.
We need to be transparent and trustworthy regarding this kind of fact.
Posted by Saptak Mandal on 10 Sep 2010


What a farce. You're using summary info from NASA. Have you ever asked NASA why they won't release the raw climate data? Is it polluted like the rest of the climate data?

Posted by ande on 10 Nov 2010


The other issue about the ice melting would be the fact there are a lot of industries such as oil or transport that would benefit a lot from the ice-free summer in the Arctic, these industries are those behind the denials about this situation.

Posted by Adrien on 17 Nov 2010


You denialists are funny...tens of thousands of scientists spend their life studying the issue but you of course know better, Jon by looking in his old school atlas and AG by taking one one quick look at a graph he doesn't understand.

Posted by Zainol Rashid on 09 Jan 2011


There is even time for a real science. The climate history is only good for the development of new Technologien.Am end will come a global CO2 tax, and then we can pay for air.

Posted by reisemann on 09 May 2011


Slowing CO2 emissions can't end global warming. It's too late and totally useless. We are running out of time, so we need to act fast by removing CO2 emmissions now.

Posted by james on 28 Jun 2011


Alternative energy sources have not developing fast.The 7 sisters do not let companies or individuals to change the status of the huge petroleum consumption. I believe its so easy to change and the technology exists. But how will be our world with energy independence? I believe better for all.

Posted by Nickmin on 14 Jul 2011


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elizabeth kolbertABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elizabeth Kolbert has been a staff writer for the New Yorker since 1999. Her 2005 New Yorker series on global warming, “The Climate of Man,” won a National Magazine Award and was extended into a book, Field Notes from a Catastrophe, which was published in 2006. Prior to joining the staff of the New Yorker, she was a political reporter for the New York Times. Earlier this year, she talked to Yale Environment 360 about the responsibility of both the media and scientists to better inform the public about climate change, and she interviewed John Holdren, President Obama’s top science adviser, about the role of the United States heading into the Copenhagen talks.
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