February 15, 2009

Expert: Planet warming faster than thought

Earth is warming faster than scientists have predicted, in part because industrial greenhouse gas emissions have increased, U.S. scientists say.

Scientists say higher temperatures are triggering responses in ecosystems, The Washington Post reported Sunday.

We are basically looking now at a future climate that's beyond anything we've considered seriously in climate model simulations, said Christopher Field, founding director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology at Stanford University.

Speaking at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Field said emissions from burning fossil fuels since 2000 have largely outpaced the estimates used in a 2007 U.N. report.

The increase in greenhouse emissions is largely the result of increased burning of coal in developing countries, said Field, a member of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.