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[greenyes] Global Warming - More from Antarctica
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Dramatic change in West Antarctic ice could produce 16ft rise in sea levels
By Michael McCarthy, Environment Editor
02 February 2005
Dramatic change in West Antarctic ice could produce 16ft rise in sea levels

Coral reefs may start to dissolve in 30 years

Leading article: Icy warning

British scientists have discovered a new threat to the world which may be a 
result of global warming. Researchers from the Cambridge-based British 
Antarctic Survey (BAS) have discovered that a massive Antarctic ice sheet 
previously assumed to be stable may be starting to disintegrate, a 
conference on climate change heard yesterday. Its collapse would raise sea 
levels around the earth by more than 16 feet.

BAS staff are carrying out urgent measurements of the remote points in the 
West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) where they have found ice to be flowing into 
the sea at the enormous rate of 250 cubic kilometres a year, a discharge 
alone that is raising global sea levels by a fifth of a millimetre a year.

Professor Chris Rapley, the BAS director, told the conference at the UK 
Meteorological Office in Exeter, which was attended by scientists from all 
over the world, that their discovery had reactivated worries about the ice 
sheet's collapse.

Only four years ago, in the last report of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel 
on Climate Change (IPCC), worries that the ice sheet was disintegrating were 
firmly dismissed.

Professor Rapley said: "The last IPCC report characterised Antarctica as a 
slumbering giant in terms of climate change. I would say it is now an 
awakened giant. There is real concern."

He added: "The previous view was that WAIS would not collapse before the 
year 2100. We now have to revise that judgement. We cannot be so sanguine." 
Collapse of the WAIS would be a disaster, putting enormous chunks of 
low-lying, desperately poor countries such as Bangladesh under water - not 
to mention much of southern England.

The conference has been called by Tony Blair as part of Britain's efforts to 
increase the pace of international action on climate change, in a year when 
the UK is heading the G8 group of industrialised nations and the European 
Union.

Mr Blair has asked it to explore the question of how much climate change the 
world can take before the consequences are catastrophic for human society 
and ecosystems.

Yesterday, it heard several alarming new warnings of possible 
climate-related catastrophic events, including the failure of the Gulf 
Stream, which keeps the British Isles warm, and the melting of the ice sheet 
covering Greenland.

But it was the revelations of Professor Rapley, head of one of the world's 
most respected scientific bodies, which were the most dramatic, as they 
reopened a concern many scientists assumed had been laid to rest.

"..."

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

 Hotter world may freeze Britain

Fifty-fifty chance that warm Gulf Stream may be halted

Paul Brown
Wednesday February 2, 2005
The Guardian

The chance of the Gulf Stream, which brings warm waters around the British 
Isles, being halted, sending temperatures plummeting by more than 5C, is now 
more than 50%, a scientific conference on climate change was told yesterday.

The conference, called by Tony Blair to inform world leaders about the 
urgency of reducing carbon dioxide emissions, was told of a series of new 
research findings which showed that climate change was speeding up and would 
be worse than hitherto expected.

Only five years ago the scientists on the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on 
Climate Change were confident that Antarctica was a "slumbering giant" and 
its vast ice sheets so cold that they would not begin to melt for centuries, 
even if the climate changed elsewhere.

This conference was told "the giant is awakening", and areas of the 
ice-bound continent melting, causing faster sea-level rise than expected.

Whatever politicians and scientists do, temperatures will rise another 0.6C 
in the next 30 years, on top of 0.7C in the past century, pushing a number 
of vulnerable species, such as polar bears and penguins, to extinction.

The 30-year time lag between man putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere 
and the Earth responding by becoming warmer meant that we were already 
committed to further climate change.

"..."

_________________________
Peter Anderson, President
RECYCLEWORLDS CONSULTING
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705-4964
Ph: (608) 231-1100
Fax: (608) 233-0011
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