Climate change fastest since dinosaurs

| 06/08/2013

(CNS): New research report by two Stanford climate scientists has found that the planet is undergoing one of the largest climate changes since the dinosaurs were extinct and the speed of change is accelerating according to a press release from the Standford Woods Institute for the Environment. The scientists warn that the likely rate of change over the next century will be at least ten times quicker than any climate shift in the past 65 million years. Without intervention, this extreme pace could lead to a 5- to 6-degree Celsius spike in annual temperatures by the end of the century.

“If the trend continues at its current rapid pace, it will place significant stress on terrestrial ecosystems around the world, and many species will need to make behavioral, evolutionary or geographic adaptations to survive,” the scientists claim.

The findings come from a review of climate research by two Stanford Woods Institute Senior Fellows, Noah Diffenbaugh, an associate professor of environmental earth system science, and Chris Field, a professor of biology and environmental earth system science and the director of the Department of Global Ecology at the Carnegie Institution. The work is part of a special report on climate change in the current issue of Science.

"We know from past changes that ecosystems have responded to a few degrees of global temperature change over thousands of years," said Diffenbaugh. "Butthe unprecedented trajectory that we're on now is forcing that change to occur over decades. That's orders of magnitude faster, and we're already seeing that some species are challenged by that rate of change."

Diffenbaugh and Field also reviewed results from two dozen climate models to describe possible climate outcomes from present day to the end of the century. In general, extreme weather events, such as heat waves and heavy rainfall, are expected tobecome more severe and more frequent.

By the end of the century, should the current emissions of greenhouse gases remain unchecked, temperatures over the northern hemisphere will tip 5 to 6 degrees C warmer than today's averages. In this case, the hottest summer of the last 20 years becomes the new annual norm.

"It's not easy to intuit the exact impact from annual temperatures warming by 6 C," Diffenbaugh said. "But this would present a novel climate for most land areas. Given the impacts those kinds of seasons currently have on terrestrial forests, agriculture and human health, we'll likely see substantial stress from severely hot conditions."

The more dramatic changes that could occur by the end of the century, however, are not written in stone. There are many human variables at play that could slow the pace and magnitude of change – or accelerate it.

"There's no question that a climate in which every summer is hotter than the hottest of the last 20 years poses real risks for ecosystems across the globe," Diffenbaugh said. "However, there are opportunities to decrease those risks, while also ensuring access to the benefits of energy consumption.

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Category: Science and Nature

Comments (16)

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  1. Keepin' Them Real says:

    Thank you for not confusing me with facts!

    It is always entertaining to read science-related articles that are not weighted down with bothersome and head-spinning facts. Thank you CNS for keeping the DOOMSDAY NEWS light and digestible. Now that everyoneglobally agrees (consensus) that Global Warming is real and that its cause by human activity is unquestionable; the facts don't really matter, do they?

    Why bother with asking those unnecessary questions that scientists (and news reporters) used to ask before we had consensus-by-internet?

    We certainly don't need to be bothered to think about details such as:

    -How much has the climate warmed in the last 100, 50, 20 or 10 years?

    -What is the effect of solar cycles, ocean currents and volcano eruptions on climate?

    -If the climate is warming; what is the optimal global temperature, have we exceeded it and by how much?

    -How many of those "two dozen climate models to describe possible climate outcomes" used by the scientist in this study have been accurate in their predictions to date?

    I could go on with scores of questions that would have been asked in the age before wifi, but why bother; you have told us all we really need to know; that if we don't die of disease, trauma or old age first, then drought, heatstroke or drowning will certainly even the score.

    I suggest your next "Science & Nature" article should be an investigation on the dangers of DHMO (dihydrogen monoxide) in our environment since it kills 250,000 people annually and we have one of the highest exposures to DHMO here in Cayman.

     

  2. Nathan Bedford Forrest says:

    This is BOGUS, no one was around during dinosaurs taking weather readings!! Another BOGUS CLIMATE ARTICLE to conjure up worry for no reason!!!! What a joke this Climate Change thing has become!! 

    • Anonymous says:

      Excuse me  Nathan  but  how then can those that are against global warming use that same information.

      Your bigest problem is that by far the majority of  climate experts are still on the side that does not bode well for mankind in the future.  

  3. Anon says:

    You are going to be flooded.  50 years.  Definite.

  4. Anonymous says:

    More scaremongering nonsense.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Cayman should be thinking of building sea defences..whether you believe the article or not, one indisputable fact is that sea levels are rising worldwide as ice caps (also proven) are melting. Might also help our own plight if as suspected Hurricances start getting more powerful..

    • Anonymous says:

      They should but they won't, add climate change to any conversation and 50% of the population who either cannot understand things change to those who care little of thie children and the nex generation all shove their heads in the sand.

      It was only 50 years ago that people refused to believe anything ever went extinct. Human do seem to be the stupidest intelligent species.

      It is in our nature to react to problems rather than be proactive.

    • pmagn says:

      unfortunately a sea wall will not help as KY is on pourous rock. The island will eventually have to be abandoned like the ones that are starting to in the Pacific currently.

  6. Anonymous says:

    an article which be lost on the caymankind….the kind of people that burn diesel for electricity and dump their trash in a mountain within 2 miles of its tourist center……….

    • Anonymous says:

      I then can safely assume that you are not on this Islandcontributing to this problem?

  7. Anonymous says:

    None of the current climate models is functional in the real world. This is designed to create a 5 to six degree increase in their grant money.

    • Anonymous says:

      Just like they designed the ice cap melt. Or are you denying that is happening too?

  8. Weapons Grade Bollocks says:

    Shame on CNS for publishing this foolishness. We are a religious land. The onliest dinosaurs we dig up are on Statutory Boards!

    • Anonymous says:

      A religous land that eat Conch and turtle even though the bible tells us it is an abomination.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ummm…as Christians we follow the NT which doesn't tell me it is an abomination. It says that every creature is good and to be received with thanksgiving, that my only dietary restrictions are not eat anything that has been strangled or food sacrificed to idols. Check it out, ignoramus.