|NASA finds the thickest parts of the arctic ice cap are melting faster.|
The amount of global temperature increase and the short time over which it's occurred create a change in velocity that outstrips previous periods of warming or cooling, the scientists said in research published in Science journal.
If the Earth stays on its current course without reversing greenhouse gas emissions, the pace of change will be at least 50 times and possibly 100 times swifter than what's occurred in the past, said Christopher Field, one of the scientists on the study.
The changes that are expected ahead will happen much faster than the rate at which species and ecosystems typically are able to adjust, Field noted.
This report, from two respected Earth system scientists, lays stress on the rapid pace of climate change, something unique in the known environmental record. Most previous climate warnings have focused on quantity rather than velocity.
Here is a report from Scientific American magazine (2/8/2013) on the Stanford University report: