Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Don't Count on Slow and Gradual. National Research Council Warns Climate Change will Be Fast and Abrupt.
The U.S. National Research Council has released a 200-page report warning that climate change is coming on much faster than we appreciate and that we have to prepare for 'abrupt consequences' arriving within years, decades at the outside.
The report, "Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change, Anticipating Surprises," is available at no charge online here. Printed copies are $57.
The report says abrupt changes like melting ice in the Arctic Ocean and mass species extinctions have already started and are worse than predicted. It says thousands of species are changing their ranges, seasonal patterns or in some cases are going extinct because of human-caused climate change. Species in danger include some coral; pika, a rabbitlike creature; the Hawaiian silversword plant and polar bears.
Study co-author Richard Alley of Pennsylvania State University compared the threat of abrupt climate change effects to the random danger of drunk drivers.
"You can't see it coming, so you can't prepare for it. The faster it is, the less you see it coming, the more it costs," Alley told The Associated Press. "If you see the drunk driver coming, you can get out of the way."
The photograph, by the way, is a now familiar sight to most British Columbians. It reveals the vast swathes of forest being killed off by Mountain Pine and Lodgepole Pine Beetle infestations that have ravaged the province because we no longer get enough sufficiently cold winter days needed to suppress the parasites' numbers. What you see in this photograph is exactly what it looks like.