UN report sees bleak climate future

Scientists say temperature gains of 6C "or more" this century cannot be ruled out.

    Rising temperatures may hamper Earth's
    natural ability to absorb carbon dioxide

    Human role
     
    The draft makes a strong link between increases in man-made carbon dioxide emissions and climate change.
     
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    The document says that since the last such report, released in 2001, "confidence in the assessment of the human contributions to recent climate change has increased considerably.
     
    "Anthropogenic (man-made) warming of the climate system is widespread and can be detected in temperature observations taken at the surface, in the free atmosphere and in the oceans.
     
    "It is highly likely that the warming observed during the past half century cannot be explained without external forcing (human activity)."
     
    In the 2001 report, scientists forecast a global atmospheric temperature increase of between 1.4 and 5.8C by 2100.
     
    The draft also warns of "positive" feedbacks, which could play a role in accelerating temperature increases.
     
    The report says that as the world warms it causes increased evaporation, leading to higher concentrations of water vapour, thereby exacerbating the greenhouse effect.
     
    The document notes that water vapour concentrations over oceans have increased by four per cent since 1970.
     
    The IPCC's climate models also warn that rising temperatures will hamper the planet's natural ability to absorb carbon dioxide.
     
    Heat waves are likely to be more intense, more frequent and longer-lasting, and tropical storms and hurricanes will probably be stronger.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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