Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Warning Signs

A collection of some global indicators...

Mauna Loa Curve (Keeling Curve)

"The increasing amount of CO2 in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels has become a serious environmental concern. Central to this concern is the question whether a rise in CO2 constitutes a peril to man by raising world temperatures, as many scientists now claim. That a rise in CO2 is occurring is unquestionable, however. Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) data are providing dramatic evidence of that: they show amounts more than 10% over amounts recorded before the Industrial Revolution, and a rise of 6% in the last 19 years alone."

Amazon rainforest 'could become a desert'

The vast Amazon rainforest is on the brink of being turned into desert, with catastrophic consequences for the world's climate, alarming research suggests. And the process, which would be irreversible, could begin as early as next year.
Studies by the blue-chip Woods Hole Research Centre, carried out in Amazonia, have concluded that the forest cannot withstand more than two consecutive years of drought without breaking down.
Scientists say that this would spread drought into the northern hemisphere, including Britain, and could massively accelerate global warming with incalculable consequences, spinning out of control, a process that might end in the world becoming uninhabitable.


The Gulf Stream is Weakening. (As reported last year)

...They have found that one of the “engines” driving the Gulf Stream — the sinking of supercooled water in the Greenland Sea — has weakened to less than a quarter of its former strength.
The weakening, apparently caused by global warming, could herald big changes in the current over the next few years or decades. Paradoxically, it could lead to Britain and northwestern and Europe undergoing a sharp drop in temperatures.
...“Until recently we would find giant ‘chimneys’ in the sea where columns of cold, dense water were sinking from the surface to the seabed 3,000 metres below, but now they have almost disappeared,” he said.
“As the water sank it was replaced by warm water flowing in from the south, which kept the circulation going. If that mechanism is slowing, it will mean less heat reaching Europe.”
...The Gulf Stream transports 27,000 times more heat to British shores than all the nation’s power supplies could provide, warming Britain by 5-8C.

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