Coping with Climate Change: The Experts Weigh In

An expert panel assembled this week in Japan and released a report on climate change and our ability to adapt to our changing world.

According to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – a group of thousands of scientists and experts from 70 countries — the effects of climate change are already happening all around the world in the form of extreme weather, like heat waves, droughts, floods, hurricanes and wildfires.

Credit - J. Johnson via Flickr

Credit – J. Johnson via Flickr

Two big themes in the report are adaptation and resilience.

Adaptation: We need to be prepared to adjust to expected climate change and its effects.

Resilience: We need to know how to respond to hazardous events or trends when they happen.

Whether you live on the smallest tropical island in the Caribbean or on one of largest continents in the world, the panel says people need to adapt to these challenges creatively.  According to a statement issued by the IPCC, “The striking feature of observed impacts is that they are occurring from the tropics to the poles, from small islands to large continents, and from the wealthiest countries to the poorest.”

At WeatherBug, we believe that more measurement means better science. That’s why, in partnership with Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, we are helping to monitor carbon dioxide in the U.S. at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. The Mauna Loa record is the longest running measurement of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere on Earth.

Credit: NOAA

Credit: NOAA

Measurements began in 1958 by acclaimed researcher Dr. Charles David Keeling of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. The rise has been continuous and shows a remarkably constant relationship with fossil-fuel burning, and can be accounted for based on the simple premise that 57 percent of fossil-fuel emissions remain airborne.

In May 2013, the concentration of carbon dioxide at Hawaii’s Mauna Loa Observatory surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) for the first time ever. On March 12, 2014, nearly two months earlier than the date on which the milestone was passed in 2013, carbon levels exceeded the 400 million mark. Researchers expect the level will keep rising in our lifetimes and beyond.

What do you think? Are adaptation and resiliency important?

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This entry was posted in Climate Change, General.
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