The study, to be published in the Feb. 4-8 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Online Early Edition, outlines the most vulnerable areas of earth at risk for abrupt climate change, according to Elmar Kriegler, a visiting research scholar in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University.
Kriegler, a researcher from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, was one of seven scientists who helped to compile the study, drawing on the insights from a climate change workshop sponsored by the British Embassy in Berlin in October 2005, and an opinion survey of 52 experts in the field.
“We found that while most global change is perceived to be a slow, gradual process, there are areas of the planet where this change can be abrupt and potentially irreversible,” said Kriegler.The researchers call the most vulnerable regions in the climate change equation “tipping elements,” referring to the fact that those areas may be pushed over a threshold to a radically different climate state.
The study reports that two “tipping elements” of greatest concern are the Arctic sea ice and the Greenland ice sheet.If the Greenland ice sheet were to melt, it would displace enough water to raise sea levels 23 feet, swallowing up large parts of coastal Florida, most of Bangladesh and many other regions worldwide.
“What this study shows is that the stakes are enormous, bringing into focus the fragility of the climate conditions on earth,” said Kriegler, who is using a European Union Marie Curie Fellowship to spend two years doing research at Carnegie Mellon.
From changing ocean currents to melting glaciers, from eroding permafrost to vanishing rainforests — no part of nature is an island, and the rumble of symptoms may occur in places thousands of miles apart, and grow louder as the planet heats up, the researchers said.
In addition to Carnegie Mellon, other research universities involved in the study included the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, United Kingdom; Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in the United Kingdom; The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Potsdam, Germany; and the School of Civil Engineering and Geoscience at Newcastle University and the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University, both in the United Kingdom.
Chriss Swaney | EurekAlert!
Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water
In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
05.12.2016 | Materials Sciences
05.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering