When it comes to global warming, things may not be quite as bad as we thought. According to a recent study in Nature Geoscience, global warming seems to have leveled off over the past decade, meaning that some of the most dire climate change predictions could be a thing of the past. But while the news is good, it doesn’t mean that we are out of the danger zone. Global warming is still changing life on the planet as we know it.
An international team of scientists published a study which indicates that the recent increase in global warming has slowed down, showing a possible stabilization. According to the article, this means that policy makers may want to take the leveling off into account when defining climate policy. Given the United State’s already weak response to climate change, the study probably won’t mean any changes US policy.
But even with the recent stabilization, the climate is expected to warm beyond the 2-degree danger zone that marks an unmanageable change in the atmosphere. This past decade was the warmest since record keeping began in the 1880s, and the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere reached an all-time high of 400 parts per million this week.
Until scientists have more information, this data doesn’t necessarily mean that we can breathe a sigh of relief. Scientists aren’t sure why warming has tapered off, citing perhaps higher-than-expected heat absorption from the Earth’s oceans, a decline in solar activity or even an increase in volcanic aerosols. What is certain is that the climate continues to change in ways that may eventually have catastrophic consequences for life on this planet.
images from NASA