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Climate change may be worse than predicted, expert warns By Ernest Gill
dpa German Press Agency
Published: Sunday February 11, 2007

By Ernest Gill, Hamburg- Climate change in the coming decades may be even worse than predicted, according to German scientists, who say the dangers have been "underestimated." The new assessment comes in the wake of alarming data released earlier this month on observed climate trends from 1990 to the present day.

The data included atmospheric carbon dioxide levels, global air temperatures and sea level. These measurements were then compared with the changes predicted in the 2001 Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

Increases in average surface temperature of both land and sea were found to be in the upper part of the range predicted by the IPCC.

Carbon dioxide concentration followed the IPCC forecast almost exactly, but sea levels appeared to be rising at a faster rate.

Satellite readings showed an increase in sea level of 3.3 millimetres per year between 1993 and 2006.

The IPCC report predicted a best-estimate rise of less than two millimetres a year.

But the German experts warned that the new estimate for how quickly sea level is rising was 25 per cent faster than the rate in any 20-year period over the past 115 years.

The scientists, led by Dr Stefan Rahmstorf, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, wrote in the journal Science: "The data now available raise concerns that the climate system, in particular sea level, may be responding more quickly than climate models indicate."

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency