Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Climate change tipping points outlined

Researchers have drawn up a list of climate ‘tipping points’ we are in danger of tripping this century. Even a small amount of human induced climate change could push these vital parts of the planet over the edge, says Tim Lenton of the University of East Anglia.
The really bad news: Lenton thinks some of the tipping points are under ten years from happening.
“Society must not be lulled into a false sense of security by smooth projections of global change,” he says (press release). “Our findings suggest that a variety of tipping elements could reach their critical point within this century under human-induced climate change. The greatest threats are tipping of the Arctic sea-ice and the Greenland ice sheet, and at least five other elements could surprise us by exhibiting a nearby tipping point.”

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