Notes: Dr. Somerville, one of the authors of the 2009 "Copehagen Diagnosis," an update of the 2007 IPCC report, notes that the actual pace of change was occurring at the high end of the 2007 predictions:
"'Many indicators are currently tracking near or above the worst-case projections' made three years ago by the world's scientists, the new Copenhagen Diagnosis said.
". . . over the past three years, hundreds of new scientific field accounts of global warming's impacts, as well as improved peer-reviewed analyses of global warming itself in both the deep past and the very near future, have depicted earth's atmosphere as far more 'sensitive' to the invisible CO2, methane and other human-sourced greenhouse gases than had been hoped.'"
"We found that several vulnerable elements in Earth's climate system -- like the Amazon and other big rain forests, like the great ice sheets that have so much sea level locked up in their ice -- could be pushed toward abrupt or irreversible change if we go on toward 2100 with our business-as-usual increase in emissions of greenhouse gases."
Update 2-2-12. Katharine Hayhoe interview with Yale Environment360, 8/30/11
We cannot afford to wait until the full effects of climate change become known and say, ‘Oh, this is not the future I really wanted, can I just kind of roll back time a few decades and knock all that carbon dioxide out of the air and make some different choices?’ It’s kind of like being on the operating table waiting to get quadruple bypass surgery and at that point saying, ‘You know what, I’ve changed my mind, I’ll exercise, I really will, I’ll cut back on those steaks and hamburgers.’ We can’t do that.
Bite source: "Global Warming Report Finds Time is Running Out," ABC News, Nov 24, 2009
Image source: Mother Nature