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friday :: january 30, 2004
climate change may come as a shock

North-Western Europe could be in for some sudden climatic surprises in the future.

North-Western Europe is kept warm by an ocean current known as the North Atlantic Current, an extension of the Gulf Stream which brings warm water from the tropics to the north. This current is sensitive to global warming and could slow down, or even break down as a result of increasing global temperatures. Studies of Earth's ancient climate show that the North Atlantic Current has changed repeatedly and dramatically in the past, resulting in massive and sudden regional climate changes [ice ages]. >from *Future climate change in North-Western Europe may come as a shock*. January 15, 2004.

"The rate and extent of change, especially since the 1950s is unprecedented," says Dr Will Steffen, Executive Director of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and lead author of the book "Global Change and the Earth System: A planet under pressure", a view of a rapidly changing planet presented by hundreds of scientists from around the world. "We are changing the very life support system on which we depend and its future is highly unpredictable."

One of the concerns raised by the book is that many of the changes occurring to the Earth remain 'invisible' for long periods until critical thresholds are crossed and large changes follow. "Some changes may be irreversible on any time scale meaningful to humans", says Steffen." >from *New policies needed to combat Global Change*. January 20, 2004

related context
new study reports large-scale salinity changes in the oceans. saltier tropical oceans and fresher ocean waters near the poles are further signs of global warming's impacts on the planet... continue to freshen northern north atlantic ocean waters -- to a point that could disrupt ocean circulation and trigger further climate changes. december 17, 2003
> electrokinetic cells: new source of energy. november 17, 2003
> earth 'will expire by 2050': living planet report. july 12, 2002
> global warming: u.s. climate action report 2002. june 12, 2002

ice age coming?

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