Thursday, September 26, 2019

New IPCC Report Reveals Accelerating Ice Melt and Sea Level Rise

Climate impacts are accelerating and this is expediting the timelines for the melting of the cryosphere and sea level rise. This is the conclusion of the most recent report from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). As with other IPCC studies, the latest report is a synthesis of the most up to date science.

The report indicates that ocean surface temperatures have been steadily warming since 1970 and in the last quarter century they have been warming twice as fast.  The relatively new phenomenon of ocean heat waves have doubled since the 1980s and they have become more intense. The report states increasing rates of melting ice sheets in Greenland and the Antarctic are contributing to accelerating sea level rise.

The climate ocean nexus is increasingly clear. Warmer seas support algae blooms, decimate ocean fisheries, contribute to inland wildfires and fuel extreme storms including hurricanes like Dorian. Our oceans are also becoming more acidic due to the absorption of atmospheric CO2 the most common greenhouse gas (GHG). Together the data suggests we are witnessing a marine mass extinction.

The authors restate the fact that global warming is a consequence of GHG emissions largely from the burning of fossil fuels. Many climate impacts are baked into the system, however, the report states that if we act now these impacts could be dramatically reduced. As stated in this and another recent IPCC report this means dramatically slashing our GHG emissions.

Related
UN Emissions Gap Report
IPCC Special Report on Global Warming

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