Carbon dioxide and other gases from the burning of
fossil fuels collect in the atmosphere and act like the
glass walls of a greenhouse,
trapping heat on the earth's
predict that the planet's average
temperature could rise as much as 6.3 degrees F (3.5
degrees C) over the next century, and we are already
seeing heat waves,
melting polar ice and rising seas.
Local impact remains
unpredictable: some areas could
suffer stronger storms and other places severe
Seven environmental groups -Environmental Defense Fund,
Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, Union of
Concerned Scientists, U.S. Public Interest Research Group,
World Resources Institute and World Wildlife Fund- have
put together a WORLD MAP showing "early-warning
signs" of global warming.
Reviewed by a team of scientists, the signs fall into two
categories: direct manifestations of warming, called
FINGERPRINTS, and events that could become more frequent
widespread with climate change, which are labeled
Here's an advance look at the
highlights of the map:
HARBINGERS (Direct manifestations of warming)
Edith's Checkerspot Butterfly has disappeared from the
lower elevations and southern limits of its range.
Adelie penguin populations have declined 33% in 25 years
because the sea ice where they live is
3 CANADIAN ARCTIC
Peary caribou numbers dropped from 24,000 in 1961 to as
few as 1,100 in 1997, mostly because heavy snowfalls and
freezing rain covered their food supply.
Storms and Floods
During August 15 to 17, 1998, a storm
dumped nearly 1 ft.
(30 cm) of rain on Sydney, three times as much as normally
falls during that entire month.
flooding struck during July and August 1998. On
some days rainfall exceeded 10 in. (25 cm).
In February 1998, 21.74 in. (55.22 cm) of rain fell on
Santa Barbara, its highest monthly total
In 1997 hundreds of people died of malaria in highlands
where the population had not been previously exposed.
In the Andes, mosquitoes that can carry dengue and yellow
fever, once limited to altitudes no higher than 3,300 ft.
(1,000 m), appeared at altitudes of 7,200 ft. (2,195 m).
In 1997 malaria was detected for the first time as high as
6,900 ft. (2,100 m) in Irian Jaya province.
More than 1.2 million acres (500,000 hectares) of forest
burned in 1994.
In 1998 1.25 million acres (506,000 hectares)
went up on
flames during a severe drought.
Up to 2 million acres (800,000 hectares) of land burned in
1998, including parts of the already devastated
rain-forest habitat of the Kalimantan orangutan.
31% of 65 bird species studied in 1995
laid their eggs
earlier than in 1971 by an average of 8.8 days.
During 82 years on record, four out of the five earliest
thaws on the Tanana River have occurred in the 1990s.
15 NEW HAMPSHIRE
The length of time Mirror Lake is covered with ice has
declined about a half a day per year during the past 30
FINGERPRINTS (Events that could become more frequent)
In 1998 Lhasa had its warmest June on record. Temperatures
exceeded 77 degrees F (25 degrees C) for 23 days.
1998 brought the warmest August since data have been kept.
Temperatures reached 105.8 degrees F (41 degrees C) on
18 NEW YORK CITY
In 1999 the city had its warmest and driest July on
record, with temperatures climbing above 95 degrees F (35
degrees C) for 11 days.
Saltwater inundation from the intruding ocean is killing
Sea-level rise at Waimea Bay, along with coastal
development, has contributed to considerable beach loss
over the last 90 years.
The shoreline has
receded half a foot (15 cm) per year for
90 years, according to local reports.
The Gangotri Glacier is
retreating 98 ft. (30 m) per year.
In the Caucasus Mountains half of all glacial ice has
disappeared in the past 100 years.
The Qori Kalis glacier in the Andes Mountains is receding
about 100 ft. (30.5 m) per year, a
sevenfold increase in
rate since the 1960s and 1970s.
In Barrow the average number of snowless days in summer
has increased from fewer than 80 in the 1950s to more than
100 in the 1990s.
ARCTIC OCEAN The area covered by sea ice declined
about 6% from 1978 to 1995.
Nearly 1,150 sq. mi. (2,980 sq. km.) of the Larson B and
ice shelves collapsed from March 1998 to March
under way: in
telltale: revealing, significant
trapping: confining (atrapando, aprisionando)
predict: foretell, make a prediction (predicen)
melting: changing from solid to liquid
unpredictable: impossible to foretell, to predict
drought: a temporary shortage of rainfall
early-warning signs: previnient or anticipatory message
of danger (señales de advertencia)
fingerprints: identifying characteristics
(características de identificación)
widespread: widely distributed (extenderse)
harbingers: announcements; indications of the approach of something,
presages (señales, indicativos)
highlights: the most interesting parts (las
partes más importantes)
shrinking: becoming less or smaller
peary caribou: an arctic deer (ciervo del
dumped: dropped heavily (cayó
flooding: inundation (inundaciones)
on record: as stated by statistics (de
acuerdo con las estadísticas)
fires: process of combustion, something burning
went up on flames: started burning (comenzaron a
laid: put (pusieron)
thaws: process of changing from ice to water (heladas)
heat waves: a period of unusually hot weather (olas
mangrove forests: tropical tree forests
(manglares, bosques de mangles)
receded: moved backwards (retrocediendo)
retreating: moving backwards (retrocediendo)
sevenfold: seven times (siete veces)
ice shelves: ice that is attached to land but projects out to sea
(estratos de hielo)
MAS "ECOLOGIA GENERAL"