Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change -- New Report and Public Briefing Dec. 3


Earth's climate history is punctuated by periods of rapid change, in which major transformations of the oceans, atmosphere, and land surfaces occurred over the course of decades to as little as a few years.  Due to the current rate of carbon emissions and the accelerating pace of climate change, there is growing concern that abrupt changes could happen within the next 100 years.


A new report from the National Research Council assesses the likelihood of various physical components of Earth's climate system to undergo major and rapid changes this century.  Areas of concern include changes in ocean circulation, loss of Arctic sea ice, global sea-level rise, heat waves and droughts, thawing permafrost, and changes in weather patterns.  In addition, the report evaluates potential impacts and risks for ecosystems and society as a result of climate change.


Abrupt Impacts of Climate Change: Anticipating Surprises also explores how to monitor the climate for warnings of abrupt changes and emerging impacts, and identifies future research needs for better understanding current risks from climate change and identifying potential new threats.



Advance copies will be available to reporters beginning at 11 a.m. EST Monday, Dec. 2.  The report is embargoed and not for public release before 11 a.m. EST Tuesday, Dec. 3.  Members of the authoring committee will present the report's findings at a one-hour public briefing beginning at 11 a.m. EST Dec. 3 at the Koshland Science Museum, 525 E St., N.W., Washington, D.C.  Those who cannot attend may watch a live video webcast at http://nas-sites.org/americasclimatechoices/events/public-briefing-abrupt-impacts-of-climate-change/.  To obtain a copy of the report or to attend the event, reporters should contact the National Academies' Office of News and Public Information; tel. 202-334-2138 or e-mail news@nas.edu.