Obama launches climate tools including 3-D maps
As part of his plan to help U.S. communities prepare for climate change, President Obama is unveiling initiatives Wednesday that include 3-dimensional mapping to better identify flood risks, landslide hazards and coastal erosion.
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#1 Jul 16, 2014
#2 Jul 17, 2014
Dr Andrew Glikson, visiting fellow at the School of Archaeology and Anthropology, Australian National University
I think the scale of the changes being seen now when compared to the Earth's history is something the media and the public do not appreciate. Earth's history is marked by a number of major mass extinctions of species, triggered by volcanic eruptions, asteroid impacts and release of methane from sediments.
Major shifts in the state of the climate were caused either by pulsations in solar radiation or by release of carbon from the Earth. In each of these events a marked rise occurred in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
As the level of energy and temperature of the atmosphere increased, irreversible tipping points were reached where the synergy of feedback processes ice melt, warming water, released methane, droughts and fires - combined to shift the climate from one state to the next.
The current rise in energy of the atmosphere above that of pre-industrial times, by about 3 Watt per square meter, is about half that of the atmospheric energy rise during the last transition from glacial to interglacial state.
The current shift is threatening to bring about irreversible tipping points in the climate, with the most serious consequences, likely indicated by the increase over the last 20 years or so in the intensity of extreme weather events around the globe.
The current rise of atmospheric CO2 at a rate of near-three parts per million per year exceeds rates recorded in the history of the atmosphere for the last 55 million years, which retards the ability of species to adapt to environmental change in time.
A consequent shift from conditions, which have allowed agriculture to take place from about 8,000 years ago, would render large parts of the continents unsuitable for cultivation.
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