Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Some Potential Consequences of Global Warming

With average global temperature increases of more than 5.5°F (3°C), there will be a high probability of droughts along Europe's Mediterranean coastline, the scientists report.

The eastern U.S. would also become prone to severe dry spells.

But with an increase of less than 3.5°F (2°C), Scholze said, "we don't see this. There might actually be floods."

In addition, the study found a high likelihood that global warming beyond 3.5 to 5.5°F (2 to 3°C) would cause a high likelihood of floods at latitudes above 50 degrees north.

The temperature rise would also cause prairies to expand northward all the way to Canada's Baffin Bay, replacing present-day forests.

Farther north, Canada's forests would push into regions now covered by brush and tundra.


Substantial warming could also have dire consequences for the Amazon rain forest.

If global warming is modest, the models are "not quite sure" what will happen in that part of South America, Scholze said. "Some say it would get drier and some say it would get wetter."

But with warming of more than 5.5°F (3°C), he says, there is a high probability that the region would get drier and face a risk of forest fires.

Steven Running, a climate researcher from the University of Montana in Missoula who was not part of Scholze's team, calls this a "double whammy." The Amazon would first endure forest-killing droughts and then see massive wildfires that turn it from rain forest to grassland.
I wonder what will happen in the Western US?

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