The Earth is warming much faster than previously predicted, according Dr. Christopher Field, founding director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University.
The Washington Post reports that Field was present at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and offered some dire warnings about the state of climate change. According to the Post, Field stated that increased greenhouse gases, along with higher recorded temperatures are "triggering self-reinforcing feedback mechanisms in global ecosystems."
"We are basically looking now at a future climate that's beyond
anything we've considered seriously in climate model simulations,"
Field said at the event.
Field went on to state that "feedback loops" are responsible for increased carbon emissions. As the Post explains, "higher temperatures are beginning to melt the arctic permafrost,
which could release hundreds of billions of tons of carbon and methane
into the atmosphere."
"It's a vicious cycle of feedback where warming causes the release of
carbon from permafrost, which causes more warming, which causes more
release from permafrost," Field said.
Field explained that previous predictions didn't take into consideration the temperatures between 2000 and 2007, which provide critical insights into current climate trends. Coal-burning in India and China were cited as being largely responsible for the increased emissions that have led to these trends.
Field went on to warn that "without effective action, climate change is going to be larger and more difficult to deal with than we thought."
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