Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Hard Evidence On Climate Change

There are many campaigns from energy companies and other political forces out there that would like to distort the research on climate change, but here are the real statistics you need to know...
  • Global sea level rose about 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) in the last century. In the last decade, however, the rate of rise nearly doubled.
  • Levels of Carbon Dioxide are higher today than at anytime in past 650,000 years. (see graph above)
  • Global surface air temperatures rose three-quarters of a degree Celsius (almost one and a half degrees Fahrenheit) in the last century, but at twice that amount in the past 50 years. Eleven of the last 12 years (1995-2006) are the warmest since accurate record keeping began in 1850.
  • The oceans have absorbed much of this increased heat, with the top 700 meters (about 2,300 feet) of ocean showing warming of 0.18 degrees Fahrenheit since 1955.
  • The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have shrunk in both area and mass. Data from JPL's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment show Greenland lost 150 to 250 cubic kilometers (36 to 60 cubic miles) of ice per year between 2002 and 2006, while Antarctica lost about 152 cubic kilometers (36 cubic miles) of ice between 2002 and 2005.
  • Mountain glaciers and snow cover have declined on average in both hemispheres, and may disappear altogether in certain regions of our planet, such as the Himalayas, by 2030.
  • Many species of plants and animals are already responding to global warming, moving to higher elevations or closer to the poles.
  • Precipitation and evaporation patterns over the oceans have changed, as evidenced by increased ocean salinity near the equator and decreased salinity at higher latitudes.
All of these facts are courtesy of NASA. To better understand how these changes can effect the earth climate read The First Snow.

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