Global Warming May Have Prevented Many Serious Weather Disasters But Also Caused Massive Sea Rise Five Million Years Ago
By Sam Goodwin | Jul 22, 2013 05:19 AM EDT
Climate scientists have found evidence that suggests global warming may have actually prevented many serious weather disasters from striking the United States of America.
Climate scientist Chip Knappenberger revealed in a blog published online that global warming has prevented many serious weather disasters from striking the United States of America.
"For every billion-dollar weather disaster identified as being 'consistent with' human-caused global warming, there are probably several other potential billion-dollar weather disasters that human-caused global warming averted," Knappenberger said.
Knappenberger presented data on several minor weather events that could have developed into catastrophic events. He listed four tropical storm systems that could have become major hurricanes but didn't. The chief reason being wind shear associated with warming temperatures increasingly prevents tropical storm systems from developing into major hurricanes.
Global warming was also responsible for preventing many snowstorms, cold spells and tornadoes from striking the United States in the last year.
"Isn't it about time we start hearing about these?! If it is good enough for the goose to link global warming to weather disasters, it should be good enough for the gander to link global warming to weather disasters averted," Knappenberger explained.
Having said that, the adverse effects of global warming cannot be ignored. A recent study conducted by researchers from Imperial College London found that global warming five million years ago led to Antarctic ice sheets melting and sea levels rising by 60 feet.
According to the study, East Antarctic ice sheet repeatedly melted between five and three million years ago causing seas levels to rise by 32 feet. West Antarctica and Greenland ice sheets melted around the same time, causing sea levels to rise by a total of 65 feet.
Researchers speculate that the reason for this could be because the Pliocene Epoch period had carbon dioxide concentrations similar to now and global temperatures comparable to those predicted for the end of this century.
"The Pliocene Epoch had temperatures that were two or three degrees higher than today and similar atmospheric carbon dioxide levels to today," Daily Mail quoted study co-author Doctor Tina Van De Flierdt as saying. "Our study underlines that these conditions have led to a large loss of ice and significant rises in global sea level in the past. Scientists predict that global temperatures of a similar level may be reached by the end of this century, so it is very important for us to understand what the possible consequences might be."
They came to this conclusion by studying mud samples collected from three kilometers below sea level off the coast of Antarctica and plan on conducting further studies to determine how quickly the East Antarctic ice sheet melted during the Pliocene. Their findings could help predict the speed at which ice will melt in the future due to global warming.