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expert reaction to the climate and temperature statements released today by the WMO

This year could be one of the warmest in years according to the latest information released by the World Meteorological Organization.

 

Dr Chris Huntingford, Climate Modeller, UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology , said:

“”There are multiple independent research groups from around the world, all analysing the likely effect of increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. There is broad agreement that the burning of fossil fuels is causing global warming, and so the general higher temperatures being reported are consistent with this.

“There is absolutely no intention of scaremongering, but if this warming continues, then we can expect major alterations to our weather and including adjusted patterns of rainfall. Some of these changes might be particularly unwelcome, threatening both food and water security.

“The challenge to researchers is to make ever more detailed regional predictions of exactly how climate change will manifest itself. This knowledge can inform the spending of funds set aside to help society adapt to a changing climate.””

 

Prof Mark Maslin, Director of the Environment Institute, University College London (UCL), said:

“”Those who hoped that global warming would just go away will be disappointed by today’s announcements. Temperature records show that 2010 will be one of the warmest years ever recorded, adding to the huge weight of evidence accumulated by dedicated scientists over the last two decades showing climate change is real. It shows that the science underpinning the negotiations at Cancun is correct and adds further weight to the need for a globally negotiated and accepted deal on carbon emissions.””

 

Prof James Crabbe, Professor of Biochemistry, University of Bedfordshire, said:

“”The World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) report today on the state of the climate in 2010 gives little Christmas cheer for coral reefs, the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. The tropical North Atlantic was especially warm with temperatures at record levels over most of the area east of longitude 55°W. This comes after a previous record year in 2005, where raised ocean temperatures resulted in severe damage to reefs throughout the Caribbean. The work of many scientists who monitored the event has just been published in a prestigious open access journal (1). Our fears that that 2010 was shaping up to be even worse (2) have been vindicated by the WMO report. This year coral bleaching has been observed in every ocean and major sea in which coral occurs, from the Persian Gulf to southeast Asia, the Central Pacific to the Caribbean — only the second time this has happened (the first time was in 1998). Bleaching results in the loss of the symbiotic algal cells which are essential for their photosynthesis, without which the corals ultimately can die.

“This has serious implications for the many populations – c. 1 billion people – who live near coral reefs, and rely on them for their livelihoods and nutrition. It also has major implications for those who do not live near reefs, for many social and biological reasons. We need to develop mechanisms for mitigation of carbon dioxide levels at the Cancun meeting that will result in minimising the temperature increase, so that at least some coral ecosystems will be able to survive in the future.”

“References:
1.,Eakin, C. M. et al. PLoS ONE 5, e13969 (2010). http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0013969
2.,Nature News, Published online 19 Nov 2010 Nature doi: 10.1038/news.2010.621″

 

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