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Scripps Institution Researcher Contributes To Latest UN Climate Report

The La Jolla coast is pictured on a cloudy morning, Sept. 25, 2019.
Erik Anderson
The La Jolla coast is pictured on a cloudy morning, Sept. 25, 2019.

A U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change study found the ice in Greenland and Antarctica is melting faster than previously thought and the ocean is also warming faster.

That finding carries some dire consequences for the future. The study said there will be higher sea levels, a warmer climate and more destructive storms.

Lisa Levin of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography co-authored part of the report and she said researchers were taken aback by the speed of change.

Scripps Institution Researcher Contributes To Latest UN Climate Report
Listen to this story by Erik Anderson.

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“Warming in the oceans is accelerating. Its been speeding up since the mid-1990s," Levin said. "And many of the other changes including sea-level rise are also as a result accelerating.”

The report concluded that rising sea levels will permanently change where and how people live.

Climate change is no longer an existential crisis that might happen sometime in the future, according to the report.

“We already have climate change. We have it here,” Levin said. “We have it around the world it is already happening and that is the major message in this report. Is that it has been documented already. So off California, in the California current, we’ve been seeing warming events called the warm blob for a bit. This year it’s also been warm. But warmer waters here cause species to move north, change their distribution and that can affect our fisheries.”


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Coastal storms, combined with higher ocean levels, will create havoc along California’s coast.

Researchers cited in the report say climate change is already irreversible.

Levin, however, said some of the worst outcomes can still be avoided is people make changes in the activities that put pressure on the climate.

She said protecting habitat that sequesters carbon is a good start.

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