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Climate scientist warns world of widespread suffering if further climate change is not forestalled

ng, that the warming is due largely to human activity, that warming is causing important changes to many of the Earth's support systems, and that rapid and potentially catastrophic changes in the near future are possible.

"Such future scenarios," he says, "emerge not, as is often suggested, simply from computer simulations, but from the weight and balance of the empirical evidence as well."

Thompson listed three options humanity has for dealing with global warming which, he says, "is here and is already affecting our climate, so prevention is no longer an option."

"Clearly mitigation is our best option, but so far most societies around the world, including the United States and the other largest emitters of greenhouse gases, have done little more than talk about the importance of mitigation," he says.

He says that there are currently no technological quick fixes for global warming.

"Our best hope," he says, "is to change our behavior in ways that significantly slow the rate of global warming, thereby giving engineers and scientists time to devise, develop, and deploy technological solutions where possible."

Thompson prefaced his advice with examples of the Earth's diminishing ice cover, examples that constitute some of the strongest supporting evidence of the current threat of global climate change:

  • The ice fields atop Mount Kilimanjaro have lost 85 percent of their coverage since 1912;

  • The Quelccaya ice cap in southern Peru the largest tropical ice field on Earth, has retreated 25 percent since 1978;

  • Ice fields in the Himalayas that have long shown traces of the radioactive bomb tests in the 1950s and 1960s have since lost that signal as surface melting has removed the upper layers and thereby reduced the thickness of these glaciers;

  • All of the glaciers in Alaska's vast Brooks Range are retreating, as are 98 percent of those in southeastern Alaska. And 99

Contact: Lonnie Thompson
Ohio State University

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