Weathering climate change
Don?t blame the weatherman for not warning you about the unusual weather patterns you see, with fog and rain alternating with shine and the mercury behaving like a yo-yo.india Updated: Mar 15, 2006 02:02 IST
Don’t blame the weatherman for not warning you about the unusual weather patterns you see, with fog and rain alternating with shine and the mercury behaving like a yo-yo. It’s doubtful if any meteorological chart could have foretold the effect of rising industrial emissions of carbon dioxide— that bad boy of global warming — that are heating the planet’s biosphere alarmingly even as you read this.
The latest evidence for this comes from the US where climate scientists have reportedly discovered record levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have apparently found that current CO2 levels are far above the pre-industrial average. This has the potential to trigger sudden weather changes across the globe. Even enviro-sceptics who dismiss climate science as a big joke may find current CO2 levels unacceptable. True, this rise doesn’t pose a direct threat to human life, considering even the threshold in mine-safety regulations is around 5,000 ppm. But the point is that by radically altering the composition of the atmosphere, we are inadvertently conducting an environmental experiment. Induced atmospheric changes of this magnitude could have disastrous consequences — global temperatures will climb by five degrees before this century is out, pushing up sea levels by at least three feet.
The latest findings should prompt governments that are sceptical of the Kyoto treaty to abandon their reservations and join in. Evidently, they don’t have a moment to lose, as these gases remain in the atmosphere for well over 100 years after being released.