Steve Connor from the U.K.’s The Independent summarized what we learned in 2006 with the article “Review of the year: Global warming,” subheaded with, “Our worst fears are exceeded by reality.”

According to Connor, “2006 will be remembered by climatologists as the year in which the potential scale of global warming came into focus. And the problem can be summarised in one word: feedback.”

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arrows in a circleConnor has collected and examined research from the last year on positive and negative feedback cycles, and he lays some out in layman’s language. Yet his reporting is not diluted at all. To the contrary, it’s honest, and that only magnifies its fear factor.

Basically, scientists are just now coming to understand the potential of positive feedback cycles on global warming — how melting permafrost will release more greenhouse gases, how ocean in the place of Arctic ice will absorb more heat, and how the carbon sinks our carbon cycle relies on will lose their capacity to take in carbon dioxide.

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Connor barely touches on what sort of implications that may have on shifting global populations, but to get the full effect of his article and the science, we encourage you to just read it.