Sunday, March 30, 2014

Climate Change Already Impacting ‘All Continents’ According to New International Report

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The next big report from an ongoing international effort to nail down the science of climate change will be released on Monday.  According to the Guardian, the report’s language concludes that climate change has already “caused impacts on natural and human systems on all continents and across the oceans.”

An early draft was actually leaked in November.  The biggest danger it sees is apparently coastal flooding driven by sea level rise — which could shave 10 percent off global economic production by the end of this century, according to previous research.  Climate change also threatens widespread damage to marine life and fish populations worldwide, as both warming seas and ocean acidification throw off ecosystems’ natural balances. 

Much of the report’s language has already been finalized, including a warning that “both warm water coral reef and Arctic ecosystems are already experiencing irreversible regime shifts.”

The report also sees the potential for droughts, floods, and shifting patterns of rainfall to endanger global food production — again, a finding backed by other studies.  Climate change is also cutting down on the globe’s supply of fresh drinking water, and stronger storms pose a danger to human infrastructure.

The latest report is a product of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an international project aimed at providing the world a kind of grand summary and assessment of the known science on climate change.  It put out its last big finding — the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) — in 2007.  Now the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) is rolling out in a series of stages over the next few months.

Climate Change Already Impacting ‘All Continents’ According to New International Report

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