Watchful eyes, thoughtful mind

Earth and us ….. past, present and future ….. connected?

Point of no return August 13, 2009

Filed under: environment,future,human interference — Radiance @ 10:00 AM
Between 2005 and 2006, 43 international climate experts volunteered to evaluate each of five tipping points, judging the likelihood that achieving a tipping point would lead to potentially dangerous global warming. Tipping points occur when a small change in one factor, a “driver,” can cause a disproportionately large response in an overall system. These 5 tipping points are,
  1. More than half the Amazon rain forest turns into something other than rain forest by 2200.
  2. Atlantic “conveyor belt” and the flow of ocean water worldwide is severely disrupted by an influx of fresh water from melting ice caps due to rising temperatures.
  3. If the world warms by 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit), the Greenland ice sheet will almost unavoidably melt away.
  4. If El Niño, a periodic disruption of the ocean and atmosphere in the tropical Pacific, becomes the average state of the region’s climate as global warming progresses, widespread shifts in precipitation patterns will ensue.
  5. If the ice sheet over West Antarctica disintegrates due to rising temperatures, revealing islands that are currently buried.

So now we just have to wait and see how long before we help the planet check all points on the list. Wired Science recently used pictures from NASA’s Earth Observatory to create time-lapse videos of our “achievements” in this regard so far. We’re not doing bad, are we?

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