To evaluate the mechanisms behind such rapid transformation, the study — presented at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union — examined prehistoric periods when the climate shifted dramatically over several decades. The findings suggest that current predictions of a rise of between 18 centimetres and 61 centimetres over the next century are conservative.
However, the report also indicates that some of the negative consequences of global warming may not be as severe as scientists believe. For example, the rapid release of methane stored on the seabed and in permafrost may be less likely than feared.
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