Centuries of Trouble Already Locked In by Warming

Expert warns that CO2 has triggered 1,000 years of change
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2009 5:38 AM CST
A Bangladeshi boy rows a makeshift raft to cross floodwaters at a slum area in Kamragir char on the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh, last year.    (AP Photo/Pavel Rahman, File)
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(Newser) – The damage from global warming will continue for centuries even if emissions could possibly be brought under control immediately, warns one of the world's leading climate experts. The heat and carbon dioxide being soaked up by the world's oceans now will be released regardless of what's done to mitigate the disaster, causing "an irreversible change that will last for more than a thousand years,"  a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration tells NPR.

But the situation will grow far worse if nothing is done, she warns. Emissions will cause permanent dust-bowl conditions in the southwestern US and the Mediterranean if they continue at their current levels for another few decades, according to the researcher, whose findings are published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. That "seems all the more reason you might want to do something about it," she said.