Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Abrupt Climate Change?

An abrupt climate change occurs when the climate system is forced to transition to a new state at a rate that is determined by the climate system itself, and which is more rapid than the rate of change of the external forcing.

Potential causes of a sudden transition (tipping points) include
  • methane released by melting tundra
  • decreased albedo due to melting sea ice in the arctic
We have a near record low in actic sea ice in the summer of 2010, and methane bubbling up out of melting tundra. But have we passed tipping points that will radically accelerate climate chaos?
With the dramatic weird weather of 2010 it's so in in your face that you'd have to be asleep to miss the fact that something is happening and it is happening very very fast. Or maybe not. Maybe 2011 will be more normal, and lull us into thinking that global warming is a gradual process, and although it increases the odds of having disruptive weather, it will not suddenly look like we live on a different planet.

It's odd that I can't find any recent reports on our current risk of abrupt climate change. The ones I find seem to be older than 5 years. We all know our climatologists have been very diligent in their efforts to better our understanding of climate, so reports 5 years old could be very stale.

But the truth is out there.
A stunning year in climate science reveals that human civilization is on the precipice

How bad is it? Please... somebody... tell us? Don't tell us about 2050 or 2100... tell us about 2015, 2020.

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