average surface temperature of the Earth increased over the 20th
century by 0.6C and, as it continues, a level of 1C increase is
nearing. An increase of one degree celsius across the planet's surface
means huge changes in climatic extremes. The projections for the
scenarios we are likely to be facing in the coming centuries
can be correlated to temperature increases of 1 to 6 degrees celsius.
The Hadley centre
calculates that a 1 degree increase would eliminate fresh water
from a third of the world's land surface by 2100. Deserts would
reappear in the mid-west United States as sandstorms move across
miles of former prairie.
Low lying atoll
countries like the Maldives will see sea levels rise and mainland
coasts like the Gulf of Mexico will see stronger and stronger hurricanes
as the ocean warms. While these areas may still be on the brink,
the Arctic may already have passed the point of no return, with
the disappearance of 720,000 square kilometers of supposed permanent
ice in one year.