Scientists Detail Severe Future Impacts of Climate Change
Scientists Detail Severe Future Impacts of Climate Change: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=scientists-detail-severe-future-impacts-of-climate-change&print=true
" In a probable scenario for climate change, New Orleans will no
longer exist. Neither will Atlantic City, N.J. Boston will look much
like it did in the 17th century, before the city was dredged up to build
a port. And Florida will no longer keep its distinct appendage shape.
These geographical changes due to sea-level rise are only the
beginning, scientists bluntly stated at a briefing yesterday convened by
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairwoman Barbara Boxer
(D-Calif.). "Today's talk underscored what I already knew, but gives
me more facts," said Boxer. "We have to act because our children and
our grandchildren need us to act." Storms are likely to travel in
different patterns than they did before, much like Superstorm Sandy did.
Increasing temperatures are changing the cycles of plants and trees and
extending the pollination period to exacerbate allergies. In the
hottest cities, it will be uncomfortable to step outside during the day.
And limited agricultural growth will severely strain the world's
ability to feed itself, said a panel composed of two atmospheric
scientists, one public health expert and one biological oceanographer.
"These two years [2011 and 2012] have had the largest number of
billion-dollar events," said Donald Wuebbles, a professor of atmospheric
sciences at the University of Illinois. Heat waves and
precipitation patterns have changed dramatically, and it's due to human
causes. The Texas heat wave of 2011 was 20 times more likely to be tied
to human-induced warming than to natural causes, said Wuebbles. The
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared 2012 the
warmest year on record late last year. The worst-case scenarios
predict a 14- to 15-degree-Fahrenheit increase by the end of the
century, said Wuebbles. Chicago would feel like Birmingham, Ala.
While many skeptics assert that climate change is a natural process,
previous warming and cooling took place over thousands of years, said J.
Marshall Shepherd, president of the American Meteorological Society and
director of the atmospheric sciences program at the University of
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