Global warming is about to speed up...
Last year was the hottest year ever recorded, and there's a good chance that this year will be even hotter. In fact, new research from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory says that the rate of human-caused global warming is going to soar in the next decade.
According to the study, by 2020, the average global temperatures will increase faster than any time in the last 1,000 years. In other words, we don't only have to worry that our planet is getting hotter, we have to worry about how fast those temperatures are going to climb.
The best-case scenario that this laboratory modeled shows average temperatures rising by one degree Celsius every four decades, and some areas – like the Arctic – could warm two times faster.
In what scientists call the “do-little” model – meaning that we do little to address climate change – the temperatures rise even faster. That scenario shows global temperatures rising one degree Fahrenheit per decade, and that warming goes on for decades.
Joe Romm over at the Think Progress Blog explained that that rate of warming “becomes so fast that is is likely to be beyond adaptation for most species – and for humans in many parts of the world.”
Several recent studies suggest that temperatures have been rising more slowly over the past decade – which is what Republicans point to when they claim that there's been a “hiatus” in global warming – but, the experts say that period is just about over. They expect our planet to heat up more quickly, and higher temperatures mean more storms, more droughts, and more human suffering.
We better get serious about climate change, and we better do it fast, or we may not have a chance to save our species. We only have on planet to call home, so let's make sure that we can survive here.