A Hockey Stick in Melting Ice
Arctic temperatures in the 1990s reached their warmest level of any decade in at least 2,000 years, new research indicates. The study, which incorporates geologic records and computer simulations, provides new evidence that the Arctic would be cooling if not for greenhouse gas emissions that are overpowering natural climate patterns.
The analysis, based on more than a dozen lake sediment cores as well as glacier ice and tree ring records from the Arctic, provides one of the broadest pictures to date of how industrial emissions have shifted the Arctic’s long-standing natural climate patterns. Coupled with a separate report on the region issued Wednesday by the World Wildlife Fund, the studies suggest human-induced changes could transform not only the Arctic but climate conditions across the globe.
“It’s basically saying the greenhouse gas emissions are overwhelming the system,” said David Schneider, a visiting scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and one of the Science article’s co-authors.
The same could be said about the entire planetary ecosystem — on our current path, we’re going to overwhelm the whole system (see “Intro to global warming impacts: Hell and High Water “). Indeed, in some sense we already have, as a number of climate scientists have pointed out. The NYT‘s Andy Revkin interviewed Thomas Crowley, a climate specialist at the University of Edinburgh: