7.7 Degrees of Separation
Two new studies on global climate change, both appearing in the latest issue of Nature, predict that the Earth will get even hotter by the end of the century than previously estimated by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. One study, from Switzerland, sees a 7.7 degree Fahrenheit increase by 2100; the other, from Great Britain, predicts as much as a 12.4 degree increase. (The IPCC expected a rise of anywhere from 3 to 10.5 degrees; for comparison’s sake, the temperature difference between now and the last Ice Age is 9 degrees.) More important, say scientists, the studies show a temperature increase of 0.5 to 2.3 degrees (the British study) or 0.9 to 1.9 degrees (the Swiss study) for the years 2020-2030 — just two decades from now. And you thought it was bad on the East Coast right now.