Sunday, March 26, 2006

Science & Technology at Scientific Climate Model Predicts Greater Melting, Submerged Cities

Over the past 30 years, temperatures in the Arctic have been creeping up, rising half a degree Celsius with attendant increases in glacial melting and decreases in sea ice. Experts predict that at current levels of greenhouse gases--carbon dioxide alone is at 375 parts per million--the earth may warm by as much as five degrees Celsius, matching conditions roughly 130,000 years ago. Now a refined climate model is predicting, among other things, sea level rises of as much as 20 feet, according to research results published today in the journal Science.

Modeler Bette Otto-Bliesner of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder and paleoclimatologist Jonathan Overpeck of the University of Arizona matched results from the Community Climate System Model and climate records preserved in ice cores, exposed coral reefs, fossilized pollen and the chemical makeup of shells to determine the accuracy of the computer simulation. Roughly 130,000 the Arctic enjoyed higher levels of solar radiation, leading to increased warming in the summer and the retreat of glaciers worldwide. The model correctly predicted the extent of the resulting Arctic ice melt, enough to raise sea levels by roughly nine feet.

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