There is a growing fear among scientists that, thanks to man-made climate change, we are about to return to a world of climatic turbulence, where tipping points are constantly crossed. Their research into the workings of the planet’s ecosystems suggests why such sudden changes have happened in the past, and are likely again in future. Soon it could be a great deal more.
Jim Hansen of NASA, George Bush’s top climate modeller, predicts sea-level rise will be 10 times faster within a few years, as Greenland destabilises. “Building an ice sheet takes a long time,” he says. “But destroying it can be explosively rapid.” Hansen says we have 10 years to turn things around and escape disaster.
Sydney Morning Herald, 11 Nov 2006