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Massive emissions cuts can save Arctic ice: Study

tech-reviews Updated: Apr 15, 2009 10:28 IST

AFP
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Cutting greenhouse gases by 70 per cent this century would spare the planet the most traumatic effects of climate change, including the massive loss of Arctic sea ice, a study has said.

Warming in the Arctic would be almost halved, helping preserve fisheries, as well as sea birds and Arctic mammals like polar bears in some regions, including the northern Bering Sea, according to scientists at the National Centre for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

But the massive cuts of greenhouse gas emissions advocated by the researchers would only “stabilise the threat of climate change and avoid catastrophe,” said NCAR scientist Warren Washington, the study’s lead author.

The cuts would also prevent huge losses of permafrost and a significant rise in the sea level, said the study to be published next week in Geophysical Research Letters.

“This research indicates that we can no longer avoid significant warming during this century,” said Washington, who ran a series of global supercomputer studies.

The planet’s average temperatures have warmed by nearly one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since the pre-industrial era. Most of the warming is due to emissions from greenhouse gases, chief among them carbon dioxide, the study noted.