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p. 986. Climate surpriseslocked

  • Mark Maslin

Abstract

The assumption of a linear relationship between greenhouse gases and climate change may be wrong. ‘Climate surprises’ examines the possibility that there are thresholds—or tipping points—in the climate system that may occur as we warm the planet. These include the possibility that Greenland and/or the Antarctic could start to irreversibly melt, raising sea level by metres; a change in North Atlantic driven deep-ocean circulation could produce extreme seasonal weather in Europe; dieback of the Amazon rainforest due to deforestation, with concurrent depletion in biodiversity; and, finally, a release of gas hydrates from deep beneath the oceans could occur if the oceans warm up sufficiently, again accelerating climate change.

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