Severity of global warming might be underestimated: expert

2012-12-03 14:39:21 GMT2012-12-03 22:39:21(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

WUHAN, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Surface water in North America and Northern Europe indicates global warming may have been underestimated, according to research results published by "Nature Geoscience" magazine on Sunday.

The essay "Increased water storage in North America and Scandinavia from GRACE gravity data", co-written by scientists from China, Canada and Sweden, based their findings on observations of overland water storage through GRACE satellite (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment).

According to their research, overland water storage at Canada Prairie and Great Lakes has grown rapidly during the last ten years, which indicated less snow-ice melting water and rainwater flowing into the ocean.

"Therefore, the severity of global warming might be underestimated if we only focus on the rise of sea levels." Wang Hansheng, a Chinese scientist who managed the research, said Monday during an interview with Xinhua.

Launched in March 2002, GRACE tracks changes in Earth's gravity field by noting minute changes in gravitational pull from local changes in Earth's mass. It measures the change of overland water storage and snow-ice melting water through the change of Earth's gravity.

Wang, who is vice director of State Key Laboratory of Geodesy and Earth's Dynamics, said, "With the help of GRACE satellite and the intense GPS network coverage in North America and Northern Europe, we successfully analyzed the change of overload water storage of the two regions and its future trend."

He added, "Our research has filled a gap in the scientific field."

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