Hundreds of international scientists painted a sobering picture of a warming earth early this morning, one that is being driven by manmade emissions of heat-trapping gases and will likely bring more droughts, heat waves and powerful hurricanes far into the future.
The UN-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has spent the last six years assessing the science behind global warming issued a 21-page summary of their findings in Paris early this morning.
The scientists from more than 110 countries concluded that they are more than 90 percent certain up from 66 percent six years ago that warming temperatures in the last 50 years are mostly due to human activities such as the burning of fossil fuels in power plants and cars.
The panel said eleven of the last 12 years ranked the warmest since accurate record-keeping began in 1850 and that deeper sections of the oceans are warming, an event that leads to sea level rise because water expands with heat. For the first time, the panel was able to draw strong links between manmade warming and changing wind patterns, ocean warming and temperature extremes.
Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, the report says.
If emissions are not stabilized, warming could accelerate this century compared to the approximate one degree Fahrenheit rise over the last 100 years. Northern latitudes over land in particular will have less snow cover, more heat extremes and heavy rain events. Sea ice will shrink in the Arctic and Antarctic and permafrost will continue to thaw. There will be warmer and fewer cold days.
Even if humans stabilized greenhouse gas emissions, the earth would continue to warm for centuries and sea level would continue to rise, the panel said.