Intellectual Thoughts by Sanjay Panda: Climate Change- Heating up

Climate Change- Heating up

A man on the street in a put it succinctly: “Over 500 scientists from many countries spent a few years studying data, and then told us that human beings are to blame for global warming. I or any one could have told you that.” It is common sense, yet the report from the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change), which says the same thing, is considered a statement in the strongest terms by some influential people (though the authors now say that man is “very likely” to be responsible, rather than just “likely”). So much so that the American Enterprise Institute, a US right-leaning think tank, offered $10,000 to any scientist who can write articles that contradict this report.
This is the first time that the IPCC has said almost categorically — with 90 per cent certainty, to be exact — that the warming that we have observed is because of human activity. IPCC has predicted a temperature rise of 1.8-4 degree centigrade by the end of this century. Sea levels are expected to rise by 28-43 cm. This is the crux of the first IPCC report. It will release four more reports by the end of the year.Warming seems to be accelerating somewhat. Eleven out of the dozen years from 1995-2006 were among the 12 hottest years since 1850, when temperatures were first widely recorded. So the estimate for the average increase in global temperature for the past century, which the third assessment report put at 0.6°C, has now risen to 0.74°C.The sea level, which rose on average by 1.8mm a year from 1961 to 2003, went up by an average of 3.1mm a year between 1993 and 2003. The numbers are still small, but the shape of the curve is worrying. And because the deadline for scientific papers to be included in the
IPCC's report was some time ago, its deliberations have excluded some alarming recent studies on the acceleration of glacier-melting in Greenland.
Some trends now seem clear. North and South America and northern Europe are getting wetter; the Mediterranean and southern Africa drier. Westerly winds have strengthened since the 1960s. Droughts have grown more intense and longer since the 1970s. Heavy rainfall, and thus flooding, has increased. Arctic summertime sea ice is decreasing by just over 7% a decade. Five years ago, it had estimated temperature increases between 1.4 and 5.8 degree centigrade, and sea level rises between 9 and 88 cm in its previous report.
Some ocean scientists have pointed out that IPCC did not take into account the melting of polar ice. IPCC used data that is about a year old, and new research has shown that polar ice is melting at alarming rates.
Whatever happens in the end, we can be certain of one thing: Global warming is certain to do a lot of damage, but quick action could reduce this damage.

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