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'Smoking gun' report to say global warming here

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Allison
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« on: January 25, 2007, 03:13:19 am »

'Smoking gun' report to say global warming here
POSTED: 10:27 a.m. EST, January 23, 2007
Story Highlights
Global warming report will warn of bleak future for planet
Scientists to offer an "explosion of new data"
The report will be released to the public on February 2


 
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Human-caused global warming is here -- visible in the air, water and melting ice -- and is destined to get much worse in the future, an authoritative global scientific report will warn next week.

"The smoking gun is definitely lying on the table as we speak," said top U.S. climate scientist Jerry Mahlman, who reviewed all 1,600 pages of the first segment of a giant four-part report. "The evidence ... is compelling."

Andrew Weaver, a Canadian climate scientist and study co-author, went even further: "This isn't a smoking gun; climate is a batallion of intergalactic smoking missiles."

The first phase of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is being released in Paris next week.
This segment, written by more than 600 scientists and reviewed by another 600 experts and edited by bureaucrats from 154 countries, includes "a significantly expanded discussion of observation on the climate," said co-chair Susan Solomon a senior scientist for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

She and other scientists held a telephone briefing on the report Monday.
That report will feature an "explosion of new data" on observations of current global warming, Solomon said.
Solomon and others wouldn't go into specifics about what the report says.
They said that the 12-page summary for policymakers will be edited in secret word-by-word by governments officials for several days next week and released to the public on February 2. The rest of that first report from scientists will come out months later.

The full report will be issued in four phases over the year, as was the case with the last IPCC report, issued in 2001.
Global warming is "happening now, it's very obvious," said Mahlman, a former director of NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab. "When you look at the temperature of the Earth, it's pretty much a no-brainer."

Look for an "iconic statement" -- a simple but strong and unequivocal summary -- on how global warming is now occurring, said one of the authors, Kevin Trenberth, director of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, also in Boulder.

The February report will have "much stronger evidence now of human actions on the change in climate that's taken place," Rajendra K. Pachauri told the AP in November. Pachauri, an Indian climatologist, is the head of the international climate change panel.

An early version of the ever-changing draft report said "observations of coherent warming in the global atmosphere, in the ocean, and in snow and ice now provide stronger joint evidence of warming."

And the early draft adds: "An increasing body of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on other aspects of climate including sea ice, heat waves and other extremes, circulation, storm tracks and precipitation."

The world's global average temperature has risen about 1.2 degrees Fahrenheit from 1901 to 2005. The two warmest years on record for the world were 2005 and 1998. Last year was the hottest year on record for the United States.

The report will draw on already published peer-review science. Some recent scientific studies show that temperatures are the hottest in thousands of years, especially during the last 30 years; ice sheets in Greenland in the past couple years have shown a dramatic melting; and sea levels are rising and doing so at a faster rate in the past decade.

Also, the second part of the international climate panel's report -- to be released in April -- will for the first time feature a blockbuster chapter on how global warming is already changing health, species, engineering and food production, said NASA scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig, author of that chapter.

As confident as scientists are about the global warming effects that they've already documented, they are as gloomy about the future and even hotter weather and higher sea level rises.

Predictions for the future of global warming in the report are based on 19 computer models, about twice as many as in the past, Solomon said.

In 2001, the panel said the world's average temperature would increase somewhere between 2.5 and 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit and the sea level would rise between 4 inches and 35 inches by the year 2100. The 2007 report will likely have a smaller range of numbers for both predictions, Pachauri and other scientists said.

The future is bleak, scientists said.
"We have barely started down this path," said chapter co-author Richard Alley of Penn State University.
Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/TECH/science/01/23/climate.report.ap/index.html

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Allison
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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2007, 03:15:13 am »

Well, looks like that is settled then!  Kiss
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Allison
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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2007, 02:11:38 am »

Experts: Latest climate report too rosy By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer
1 hour, 17 minutes ago

 


WASHINGTON - Later this week in Paris, climate scientists will issue a dire forecast for the planet that warns of slowly rising sea levels and higher temperatures.


But that may be the sugarcoated version.

Early and changeable drafts of their upcoming authoritative report on climate change foresee smaller sea level rises than were projected in 2001 in the last report. Many top U.S. scientists reject these rosier numbers. Those calculations don't include the recent, and dramatic, melt-off of big ice sheets in two crucial locations:

They "don't take into account the gorillas Greenland and Antarctica," said Ohio State University earth sciences professor Lonnie Thompson, a polar ice specialist. "I think there are unpleasant surprises as we move into the 21st century."

Michael MacCracken, who until 2001 coordinated the official U.S. government reviews of the international climate report on global warming, has fired off a letter of protest over the omission.

The melting ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are a fairly recent development that has taken scientists by surprise. They don't know how to predict its effects in their computer models. But many fear it will mean the world's coastlines are swamped much earlier than most predict.

Others believe the ice melt is temporary and won't play such a dramatic role.

That debate may be the central one as scientists and bureaucrats from around the world gather in Paris to finish the first of four major global warming reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The panel was created by the        United Nations in 1988.

After four days of secret word-by-word editing, the final report will be issued Friday.

The early versions of the report predict that by 2100 the sea level will rise anywhere between 5 and 23 inches. That's far lower than the 20 to 55 inches forecast by 2100 in a study published in the peer-review journal Science this month. Other climate experts, including        NASA's James Hansen, predict sea level rise that can be measured by feet more than inches.

The report is also expected to include some kind of proviso that says things could be much worse if ice sheets continue to melt.

The prediction being considered this week by the IPCC is "obviously not the full story because ice sheet decay is something we cannot model right now, but we know it's happening," said Stefan Rahmstorf, a climate panel lead author from Germany who made the larger prediction of up to 55 inches of sea level rise. "A document like that tends to underestimate the risk," he said.

"This will dominate their discussion because there's so much contentiousness about it," said Bob Corell, chairman of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, a multinational research effort. "If the IPCC comes out with significantly less than one meter (about 39 inches of sea level rise), there will be people in the science community saying we don't think that's a fair reflection of what we know."

In the past, the climate change panel didn't figure there would be large melt of ice in west Antarctica and Greenland this century and didn't factor it into the predictions. Those forecasts were based only on the sea level rise from melting glaciers (which are different from ice sheets) and the physical expansion of water as it warms.

But in 2002, Antarctica's 1,255-square-mile Larsen B ice shelf broke off and disappeared in just 35 days. And recent NASA data shows that Greenland is losing 53 cubic miles of ice each year twice the rate it was losing in 1996.

Even so, there are questions about how permanent the melting in Greenland and especially Antarctica are, said panel lead author Kevin Trenberth, chief of climate analysis at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado.

While he said the melting ice sheets "raise a warning flag," Trenberth said he wonders if "some of this might just be temporary."

University of Alabama at Huntsville professor John Christy said Greenland didn't melt much within the past thousand years when it was warmer than now. Christy, a reviewer of the panel work, is a prominent so-called skeptic. He acknowledges that global warming is real and man-made, but he believes it is not as worrisome as advertised.

Those scientists who say sea level will rise even more are battling a consensus-building structure that routinely issues scientifically cautious global warming reports, scientists say. The IPCC reports have to be unanimous, approved by 154 governments including the United States and oil-rich countries such as Saudi Arabia and already published peer-reviewed research done before mid-2006.

Rahmstorf, a physics and oceanography professor at Potsdam University in Germany, says, "In a way, it is one of the strengths of the IPCC to be very conservative and cautious and not overstate any climate change risk."

___

On the Net:

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: http://www.ipcc.ch/
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