Kein Zurück mehr in der Antarktis

POTSDAM – Jüngste Satellitenbeobachtungen bestätigen die Richtigkeit zweier unabhängiger Computersimulationen, die zeigen, dass der westantarktische Eisschild inzwischen einen Zustand unaufhaltbaren Zusammenbruchs erreicht hat. Der Planet ist in eine neue Ära eingetreten, in der der Klimawandel irreversible Folgen zeigt. Die einzige Frage ist nun, ob wir genug tun werden, um ähnliche Entwicklungen andernorts zu verhindern.

Was die jüngsten Befunde zeigen, ist, dass wichtige Teile des Weltklimasystems trotz ihrer enormen Größe so anfällig sind, dass sie durch menschliches Tun unheilbar gestört werden können. Je mehr sich die Welt aufheizt, desto größer ist unweigerlich die Gefahr, dass andere Teile der Antarktis einen ähnlichen Kipppunkt erreichen; tatsächlich wissen wir inzwischen, dass das Wilkes-Becken in der Ostantarktis, das genauso groß oder noch größer ist als der Eisschild im Westen, ähnlich anfällig sein könnte.

Es gibt nicht viele menschliche Aktivitäten, deren Auswirkungen über Jahrzehnte, Jahrhunderte oder sogar Jahrtausende relativ genau vorhersagbar sind. Der Fallout aus Nuklearabfällen ist eine; der menschliche Beitrag zur globalen Erwärmung durch Treibhausgas-Emissionen aus der Verbrennung fossiler Brennstoffe und seine Auswirkungen auf den Anstieg des Meeresspiegels ist eine weitere.

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