Snap analysis: 'Cities like Miami at risk of being swallowed by the sea'

Al Jazeera America meteorologist Nicole Mitchell says IPCC study paints grim picture of climate change's impact

Nicole Mitchell, meteorologist and weather presenter for Al Jazeera America, writes:

“Human influence on the climate system is clear.” 

That is just one major finding in a climate report summary released today that paints a grim picture of a future influenced by global warming. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a collection of hundreds of top scientists from around the world and appointed by the United Nations, foresees serious worldwide effects due to the rapidly changing climate.

Using global data, the study finds unprecedented changes in our climate since the 1950s, including higher temperatures, rising oceans and the loss of snow cover and ice sheets.

These trends are forecast to continue and in most cases worsen. For example, the report predicts a sea level rise of 10 to 32 inches by the end of this century. This could put countless coastal cities like Miami at risk of eventually being swallowed by the sea.

Yet another issue is that higher temperatures can influence rainfall patterns. Droughts are now likely to become longer and more intense, affecting food supplies and water sources around the world.

And the consensus among scientists is not only that global warming is real but also that humans play a role. “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid20th century,” according to the report. The certainty of human influence has increased because more is now understood about climate systems and the climate models have improved.

The full IPCC report will be released Monday and will provide countries with information they can use in efforts curb greenhouse-gas emissions and prepare for hardships related to climate change.

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