"Warming's Impacts Sped Up, Worsened Since Kyoto"

"Since the 1997 international accord to fight global warming, climate change has worsened and accelerated -- beyond some of the grimmest of warnings made back then.

As the world has talked for a dozen years about what to do next, new ship passages opened through the once frozen summer sea ice of the Arctic. In Greenland and Antarctica, ice sheets have lost trillions of tons of ice. Mountain glaciers in Europe, South America, Asia and Africa are shrinking faster than before.

And it's not just the frozen parts of the world that have felt the heat in the dozen years leading up to next month's climate summit in Copenhagen:

-- The world's oceans have risen by about an inch and a half.

-- Droughts and wildfires have turned more severe worldwide, from the U.S. West to Australia to the Sahel desert of North Africa.

-- Species now in trouble because of changing climate include, not just the lumbering polar bear which has become a symbol of global warming, but also fragile butterflies, colorful frogs and entire stands of North American pine forests.

-- Temperatures over the past 12 years are 0.4 of a degree warmer than the dozen years leading up to 1997.

Even the gloomiest climate models back in the 1990s didn't forecast results quite this bad so fast."

Seth Borenstein reports for the Associated Press November 22, 2009.

See Also:

"East Antarctic Ice Sheet May Be Losing Mass" (BBC News)

Monday, November 23, 2009