“Significant Changes” in Natural Systems Already Ongoing

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The new study is written by many of the people
who wrote the so-called Working Group I report,
the first of a trio of major assessments released
last year by the IPCC.

It concludes “significant changes” are already
occurring among natural systems on all
continents, with the exception of Antarctica, and
in most oceans.
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Alalam News  (Tehran, Iran)
Wednesday,  14   May   2008

‘Significant’ Climate Change Occurring
<http://www.alalam.ir/english/en-NewsPage.aspnewsid=032060120080514111031>

PARIS, May 14–A wide-scale study published
Wednesday has strengthened warnings, spelt out
last year by UN scientists that climate change is
already on the march.

The paper, published in Nature, goes beyond the
scope taken by a landmark report issued by the
UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) in February 2007.

In that document, the IPCC said man-made global
warming was “likely” — within a probability of
66-90 percent — to have had a “discernible”
effect on many physical and biological systems.

The new study is written by many of the people
who wrote the so-called Working Group I report,
the first of a trio of major assessments released
last year by the IPCC.

Its approach widens the net of data for making a fresh analysis.

It concludes “significant changes” are already
occurring among natural systems on all
continents, with the exception of Antarctica, and
in most oceans.

Lead author Cynthia Rosenzweig of the NASA
Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the
Columbia Center for Climate Systems Research
said: “The warming world is causing impacts on
physical and biological systems attributable at
the global scale.”

The analysis is based on a trawl of hundreds of
papers published in peer-reviewed journals, on
data stretching back to 1970s.

These investigations covered phenomena as varied
as the earlier leafing of trees and plants; the
movement of species to higher latitudes and
altitudes in the northern hemisphere in response
to warmer weather; the shrinkage of glaciers and
melting of permafrost; and changes of bird
migrations in Europe, North America and Australia.

Critics of the IPCC report have variously argued
that the perceptible warming that has occurred
over the last three decades is due to natural
causes, such as volcanic eruptions or changes in
solar radiation, or to the effect of
deforestation and other changes in land use.

The new paper rejects this, saying the changes in
Earth’s natural systems cannot be explained by
such factors, and only man-made warming could be
the culprit.

The Working Group I report forecast likely
warming of 1.8-4.0 degrees Celsius (3.2-7.2
degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100 and a rise in sea
levels of at least 18 centimeters (7.2 inches).

Hunger, homelessness and water-borne disease are
among the many risks that would be amplified as a
result of climate change.

In a commentary, also published by Nature,
climatologists Francis Zwiers and Gabriele Hegerl
picked over the big dispute as to whether climate
impacts could be pinned on human interference.

They placed a question mark over the shortness of
the records put forward by Rosenzweig’s team.

Evidence stretching back far longer than a few
decades was needed to get a solid perspective,
they said.

But, they added, these objections are outweighed
by “the sheer number of changes” that the paper
lists.

This undated handout image shows an Antarctica
ice edge, the line between open water and sea ice.

Copyright © 2006- 2008 Alalam Inc.

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