World Resources International, a pretty solid NGO that works on climate change and other issues, has released its synopsis of peer-reviewed climate science for 2008. The PDF is available here. And if you haven’t been that worried about climate change, check out these tidbits from the executive summary:

Physical Climate:

  • The rate of growth of global carbon dioxide emissions between 2000 and 2007 was four times that of the previous decade.
  • A large majority of warming over the last century can be attributed to human activities rather than natural factors, such as solar variability.
  • If atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations reach 700 parts per million by 2100 (concentrations in 2008 were 385.57 parts per million), daily maximum temperatures are projected to rise to 104 degrees Fahrenheit in the U.S. Midwest and Southern Europe and exceed 122 degrees Fahrenheit in Australia, India, the Middle East, and parts of Africa.
  • Sea ice loss in the Arctic could have the potential to warm ground up to 930 miles inland, threatening to trigger ”rapid degradation” of permafrost.
  • This section includes studies in the areas of abrupt change, GHG and aerosol concentrations, temperature, and ocean behavior.

Hydrological Cycle:

  • From 1996 to 2006, the rate of ice mass loss of Antarctica increased by 75 percent.
  • The rate of melting and thinning of 30 glaciers across nine mountain ranges around the world doubled between 2004-2005 and 2005-2006.
  • Up to 60 percent of the hydrological changes in the Western United States are due to human activities, a trend which, if sustained, “portends a coming crisis in water supply.”
  • This section includes studies in the areas of glacial and snow melt, water supply, and storms.

Ecosystems and Ecosystem Services

  • Changes in 28,800 plant and animal systems and 829 physical climate systems have led scientists to conclude that human-induced warming is already “having a significant impact” on natural and physical systems.
  • Due to climate change-induced beetle infestations, the forests of British Columbia will turn from a small net sink of carbon dioxide to a large net source by 2020, with emissions trumping those related to forest fires.
  • If carbon dioxide emissions continue unabated, tropical ocean “dead zones” are likely to increase by 50 percent by 2100.
  • This section includes studies in the areas of both marine and terrestrial ecosystems.

Mitigation Technologies

  • A promising method of capturing carbon dioxide directly from the air is under development.
  • A new non-toxic, inexpensive technology for storing solar energy, with potential applications for generating hydrogen power, has been discovered.
  • This section includes studies in the areas of solar, thermoelectric, biofuels, wave energy, batteries and ultracapacitors, and carbon capture.
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