Climate change related issues have not been dealt with successfully, and that’s mostly because people generally underestimate the adverse effects of it. A new study developed by researchers from universities in the United States and Europe focused on the long-term effects of climate change. Surprisingly enough, to find that most of the carbon dioxide being released in the air in the present can stay in the atmosphere up to thousands of years.

Its safe to assume that if humans don’t cut carbon emissions soon, the impact on Earth could last for tens of thousands of years, according to researchers. The findings, published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Monday, states that the consequences of fossil fuels burned until today could last well beyond 2100. Although shocking, these findings are well founded by the fact humans have been contaminating Earth for years, and now people see how it takes its toll on the planet.

Credit: OneGreenPlanet

“The next few decades offer a brief window of opportunity to minimize large-scale and potentially catastrophic climate change that will extend longer than the entire history of human civilization thus far,” report researchers, led by Peter Clark, from Oregon State University.

The study, made by a group of 22 scientists from universities across the world, is no matter of the next hundred years, but much further than that. More than a thousand generations will have to deal with climate change related problems if people don’t give the importance it deserves right now.

A study led by oceanographer Josh Willis from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory explains how sea levels have changed over the last two decades. Then again, Willis’ research can only predict what will happen if the course of Earth’s pollution doesn’t change radically. Resulting in a quite catastrophic outcome for the human species, as well as for any other species living on the planet.

Ander Levermann, an expert on sea-level-rise at Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said, “In hundreds of years from now, people will look back and say, ‘yeah, the sea level is rising, it will continue to rise, we live with a constant rise of sea level because of these people 200 years ago that used coal, and oil, and gas.”

The data from the study showed the impact of four possible levels of carbon pollution – ranging from 1,280 to 5,120 billion metric tons – emitted into the atmosphere from the year 2000 to 2300. Yet according to researchers humans have released about 580 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere since 1750.

Being able to convey an analysis out so far into the future is really the result in recent years of several key scientific developments, Levermann said. One is that “we are now in a better position to model the ice sheets, really.”

Its worth noticing that even in a low-impact scenario sea levels could rise up to 25 meters, directly affecting 10 percent of global population, said Peter Clark. “We can’t keep building seawalls that are 25 meters high,” said Professor Clark. “Entire populations of cities will eventually have to move.”

Source: Christian Science Monitor