Two new reports highlight the alarming consequences of staying our current course.
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Two major organizations released climate change reports this month warning of doom and gloom if we stick to our current course and fail to take more aggressive measures. A World Bank report imagines a world 4 degrees warmer, the temperature predicted by century's end barring changes, and says it aims to shock people into action by sharing devastating scenarios of flood, famine, drought and cyclones. Meanwhile, a report from the US National Research Council, commissioned by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and other intelligence agencies, says the consequences of climate change--rising sea levels, severe flooding, droughts, fires, and insect infestations--pose threats greater than those from terrorism ranging from massive food shortages to a rise in armed conflicts.
Here are some of the more alarming graphic images from the reports.
1. Most of Greenland's top ice layer melted in four days
These shots published in the World Bank report show an unusually large ice melt over a four-day period, when an estimated 97% of Greenland's surface ice sheet had thawed by the middle of July 2012. Normally, ice sheets melt around the outer margins first where elevation is lower and allow for warmer temperatures. The event is uncommon, though not unprecedented. A similar event happened in 1889, and before that, several centuries earlier. There are indications, however, that the greatest amount of melting during the past 225 years has occurred in the last decade.