Dangerously unpredictable weather will worsen unless action taken: Research

WELLINGTON-Extreme and unpredictable weather seen around the world will get worse as ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica continue to melt, according to an international research collaboration published in the latest issue of Nature. The study calls for global government policy to be urgently reviewed to prevent dangerous consequences, a statement on New Zealand’s GNS website said on Thursday. The collaboration, led by Associate Professor Nick Golledge from Victoria University of Wellington’s Antarctic Research Center and involving scientists at GNS Science and from Canada, Britain, Germany and the United States, used climate models to simulate what might happen when water from melting ice sheets enters Earth’s oceans. “Sea level rise from ice sheet melt is already happening and has accelerated in recent years,” said Liz Keller from GNS Science. Extreme cold weather hit Chicago in the United States last week, while wildfires raged in Australia as temperatures in Adelaide hit 47 degrees Celsius. Despite the cold snap in the United States, overall temperatures are warming, with the Earth’s temperature being predicted to rise by 3 to 4 degrees by 2100.

“With this level of warming, a significant amount of melt water from the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets will enter Earth’s oceans,” Golledge said, adding this melt water will cause significant disruption to ocean currents and lead to more extreme weather events and greater year-to-year variation in temperatures.

This recent extreme weather will greatly disrupt agriculture, infrastructure and people’s life, he said, adding globally, policy is lagging far behind the science.


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