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Global Warming threat increased

An international team of climate experts has taken a new looks at the threat of global warming and they do not like what they see. The Earth will not have to warm up as much as had been though to cause serious consequences, including more extreme weather and increasing threats to plants and animals, the scientists report in this week's online edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

The Intergovernmental panel on Climate Change estimated that the risk of increased severe weather would rise with a global average temperature increase of between 1 degree Celsius and 2 degrees above 1990 levels.

The National Climate Data Centre currently reports that global temperatures have risen 0.12 degree since 1990. Now, researchers report that "increases in drought, heat waves, and floods are projected in many regions and would have adverse impacts, including increased water stress, wildfire frequency, and flood risks starting at less than 1 degree of additional warming above 1990 levels."

Tropical cyclones

Indeed, "it is now more likely than not that human activity has contributed to observed increases in heat waves, intense precipitation events, and the intensity of tropical cyclones," concluded the researchers led by Joel B. Smith of Stratus Consulting Inc. Other researcher, they noted, have suggested that "the likelihood of the 2003 heat wave in Europe, which led to the death of tens of thousands of people, was substantially increased by increased greenhouse gas concentration."

The new report comes just a week after Christopher Field of the Carnegie Institution for Science told the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science that humans are now adding carbon to the atmosphere even faster than in the 1990s.

Carbon emissions have been growing at 3.5 percent per year since 2000, up sharply from the 0.9 percent per year in the 1990s, Field said. The new study says there is new evidence of greater vulnerability to climate change for specific populations, such as the poor and elderly, in not only developing but also developed countries.

SOURCE: The Hindu Newspaper Dated: Thursday, February 26, 2009.
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