2/11/2014 - Fighting the effects of climate change
Due to the significant effects caused by climate change on Earth, even modest levels of warmth over a prolonged period may bring changes that will be too difficult to compensate for if proactive measures aren't taken.
A new report released late last year by the National Research Council cautioned that because ecosystems take a while to adapt to changes in the Earth's atmosphere, it's necessary for there to be some type of early warning system that could foresee the nature of these adaptations, helping society to better anticipate what needs to be done in order to prepare.
"Research has helped us begin to distinguish more imminent threats from those that are less likely to happen this century," said James White, chairperson of the committee that wrote the report and professor of geological sciences at the University of Colorado-Boulder. "Evaluating climate changes and impacts in terms of their potential magnitude and the likelihood they will occur will help policymakers and communities make informed decisions about how to prepare for or adapt to them."
Though it may not seem like it, the effects of global climate change have already been manifested. The report contended that late-summer Arctic ice has all but disappeared, and lesser known marine species are on the verge of extinction.
"With better information, we will be able to anticipate some major changes before they occur and help reduce the potential consequences," the report stated.
Many climatologists say that the prevalence of flooding - and in so doing, flood insurance claims - is largely the result of climate change. Late last year, Aon Benfield reported that the Netherlands launched a probabilistic catastrophe model to help insurers, business owners and homeowners determine just how extensive a flood could be in a given area. This may be considered similar to the warning system that the National Research Council recommended.