There Are No Certain
Effects From Global
Warming Study Says
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The future effects of global warming are hazy at best, according to researchers on Tuesday who urged a better system for predicting long-term climate change.
Otherwise, according to a report by the National Research Council, floods, storms and droughts will continue to devastate agriculture, kill people and destroy property.
The report, put together by nationwide teams of experts, found that climate was changing and would continue to do so with or without human influences.
"In 1992 and 1993 ice cores approximately 1.8 miles long were extracted from the heart of the Greenland ice sheet, revealing changes in the Earth's climate system over the last 150,000 years or so," the report said.
"One of the most remarkable revelations of these cores was the fact that the climate in the Holocene (the past 10,000 years) -- a period that we might consider representative of our modern climate conditions -- has undergone considerable natural variation."
In modern times, much milder extremes have had huge effects -- such as the "devastating" floods in the U.S. Midwest in 1993 and 1997, the research said.
Then there is global warming, which most experts agree is partly caused by humans who burn fossil fuels, cut down forests and release chemicals into the atmosphere, according to the report.
The study, funded in part by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), said researchers had been able to make some long-term predictions. For instance, experts know about El Nino, the Pacific current blamed for causing droughts, floods and other weather disruptions every few years.
Rainfall in northwestern Europe and western North America can also be predicted months in advance, to some degree.
But making longer forecasts would be harder because of the complexities of climate change, the researchers said.
The National Research Council is made up of three government institutes -- the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine.