Despite the severe storms now raging across the country, the long term future will be a drier one. The long lull in sunspot activity at the end of the last 11-year solar cycle gave us more time to work on solving the climate change problem, but a new analysis of the magnitude of climate change during Earth's deep past suggests that future temperatures may eventually rise far more than projected if society continues its pace of emitting greenhouse gases. Climatologists warn that, if carbon dioxide emissions continue at their current rate through the end of this century, atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gas will reach levels that existed about 30 million to 100 million years ago, when global temperatures averaged about 29 degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels.
Atmospheric scientist Jeffrey Kiehl says, "If we don't start seriously working toward a reduction of carbon emissions, we are putting our planet on a trajectory that the human species has never before experienced in human history. We will have committed human civilization to living in a different world for multiple generations."
And despite the recent flooding in Australia and Brazil, a hotter climate will be drier. Also, while governments debate about potential policies that might curb the emission of greenhouse gases, new research shows that the world is already committed to a warmer climate because of emissions that have occurred up to now, so we'd better learn to deal with it.
Drought is destroying forests all over the earth, from the Amazon in Brazil to the massive forest in Russia. A new NASA-funded satellite study reveals widespread reductions in the greenness of forests in the vast Amazon basin in South America, and in Russia's boreal forest--the largest continuous expanse of forest in the world, found in the country's cold northern regions--is undergoing an accelerating large-scale shift in vegetation types as a result of globally and regionally warming climate. That in turn is creating an even warmer climate in the region.
Environmentalist Liang Xu says, "The greenness levels of Amazonian vegetation--a measure of its health--a decreased dramatically over an area more than three and one-half times the size of Texas and did not recover to normal levels, even after the drought ended in late October 2010." Scientists are concerned about this because computer models predict that in a changing climate with warmer temperatures and altered rainfall patterns the ensuing moisture stress could cause some of the rainforests to be replaced by grasslands or woody savannas, releasing the carbon stored in the rotting wood into the atmosphere, which could accelerate global warming.
Ever since Whitley learned about climate change from the Master of the Key (an UPDATED edition of which will be in bookstores everywhere, starting May 12) we've been broadcasting our warning far and wide. We hope YOU give us the support we need to KEEP ON warning the world, because it's a matter of morality at this point!