It’s likely that greenhouse gasses have “contributed substantially to the observed warming over the last fifty years,” says an international panel of climate scientists. They warn that temperatures could rise much more quickly than previously anticipated.

Given the rapid warming that is already taking place in the arctic, this could mean that the melting of major polar features is not far off. The weight and mass of polar ice has declined by 58% over the past fifty years and blue water appeared at the North Pole in July of 2000. Should the pole melt, the resulting flood of relatively warm fresh water into the arctic oceans could cause a decline in the force of ocean currents, and trigger sudden climate change.

Barring this, it is now anticipated that temperatures will rise at least ten degrees Fahrenheit over the next hundred years, which would result in dramatic weather changes much sooner.

The panel, which is part of the World Meteorological Organization and operates under the United Nations Environment Program, detailed its findings, which it has been preparing for three years, in a thousand page report that is due to be published later this year. A summary of the report was sent to world governments this week.

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