Thursday 2 February 2012

Arctic scientists warn of dangerous climate change

Source: Uni WA

The future of human kind faces dire consequences due to arguably the first signs of dangerous climate change in the Arctic, say leading international scientists from The University of Western Australia.

They say the Arctic region is fast approaching a series of imminent "tipping points" that could trigger an abrupt domino effect of large-scale climate change across the entire planet.

In a paper published in the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences' journal AMBIO and a parallel commentary in Nature Climate Change, the lead author and Director of the University's Oceans Institute, Winthrop Professor Carlos Duarte, said the Arctic region contained arguably the greatest concentration of potential tipping elements for global climate change.

"If set in motion, they can generate profound climate change which places the Arctic not at the periphery but at the core of the Earth system," Professor Duarte said. "There is evidence that these forces are starting to be set in motion."

"This has major consequences for the future of human kind as climate change progresses."

Professor Duarte said the loss of Arctic summer sea ice forecast over the next four decades - if not before - was expected to have abrupt knock-on effects in northern mid-latitudes, including Beijing, Tokyo, London, Moscow, Berlin and New York.

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