Global warming accelerating

New information shows coal burning in the developing world is generating feedback mechanisms that accelerate global warming faster than previously thought.
Written by Richard Koman, Contributor

Truly scary news on global warming from the Post. Seems none of the current climate models adequately show the "feedback loops" of carbon that are going on and rapidly warming the planet.

"We are basically looking now at a future climate that's beyond anything we've considered seriously in climate model simulations," Christopher Field, founding director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University, said at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The main reason for the perilous hike? Coal use by developing nations. Here's the science of carbon feedback loops:

Unexpectedly large amounts of carbon dioxide are being released into the atmosphere as the result of "feedback loops" that are speeding up natural processes. Prominent among these, evidence indicates, is a cycle in which higher temperatures are beginning to melt the arctic permafrost, which could release hundreds of billions of tons of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, said several scientists on a panel at the meeting.

"It's a vicious cycle of feedback where warming causes the release of carbon from permafrost, which causes more warming, which causes more release from permafrost," Field said.

The U.N. panel's next assessment will come in 2014 and will include complex models ecosystem feedbacks.

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