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January 27, 2004

Global Warming Tipping Point Close?

As humans envelope nature and impact climatic processes, there is no guarantee change will be even and predictable. As ecosystems change, they may reach a tipping point, whereby there is rapid movement to a new relatively steady state. The massiveness and rapidity of human influence upon the atmosphere may well lead to dramatic changes in climate that threaten civilization. Precautions are warranted. - Technology - The Pentagon's Weather Nightmare

Global warming, rather than causing gradual, centuries-spanning change, may be pushing the climate to a tipping point. Growing evidence suggests the ocean-atmosphere system that controls the world's climate can lurch from one state to another in less than a decade%u2014like a canoe that's gradually tilted until suddenly it flips over. Scientists don't know how close the system is to a critical threshold. But abrupt climate change may well occur in the not-too-distant future. If it does, the need to rapidly adapt may overwhelm many societies%u2014thereby upsetting the geopolitical balance of power.


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