Hotting up:

Many scientists worry that there will be tipping points in global warming, as changes in the delicate balance of the earth’s ice, land, water, and air cause sudden accelerations in average temperatures. One focus of concern is the Arctic, where ice annually expands and recedes

with the seasons. This summer, ice there is at its second-lowest level. By this month, the problem could be even worse than the record contraction last

year, when scientists thought that out-of-the-ordinary wind currents and other weather conditions contributed to its retreat.

The next international conference on a new climate change agreement will be in Poland in December. The meetings so far have shown little sense of urgency. Delegates should heed the words of senior scientist Mark Serreze at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado: “We could very well be in that quick slide downward in terms of passing a tipping point.”

The next president is bound to provide more leadership on global warming than the current one, no matter who wins in November. Between Nov. 4 and Inauguration Day, the president-elect should spend time with scientists like Serreze to learn just how different the planet could become in the face of continued half-measures on climate change. — The Boston Globe