tagged w/ Global Warming
Temperatures high in the Norwegian Arctic are above those in a natural warm period in Viking times, underscoring a thaw opening the region to everything from oil exploration to shipping, scientists said on Thursday.
Last week, sea ice on the Arctic Ocean set a record low since satellite observations began in the 1970s. In recent years, mussels have been found off the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard for the first time since the Viking era 1,000 years ago.
The study showed that summertime temperatures on Svalbard were higher now than at any time in the past 1,800 years, including in the Medieval Warm Period from 950 to 1200, scientists wrote in the journal Geology.
Summer temperatures were 2 to 2.5 degrees Celsius higher since 1987 than during the Medieval Warm Period, lead author William D'Andrea, a climate scientist at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, told Reuters.
People sceptical that mankind is the main cause of global warming sometimes point to the Medieval spike in temperatures as evidence that natural variations can bring large climate swings, Columbia wrote in a statement.
“The warming of the past 25 years or so is more than in this record for the Medieval period,” D'Andrea said. The Medieval warming has been linked to shifts in solar output and volcanic eruptions.
“It has been pretty well established...that the modern warming is largely due to human contributions of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere,” D'Andrea added.
The data also indicated that the Medieval warming was not uniform across the northern Hemisphere. Studies in Greenland and parts of North America show temperatures were warmer from 950 to 1250 than today.
In Svalbard, the scientists studied sediments of algae buried in Kongressvatnet Lake that left indications of temperatures in the types of fats they laid down.
The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the globe due to emissions of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, according to a UN panel of scientists.
When white ice and snow retreat, they uncover water or ground that are darker and so soak up more heat. The melt is threatening the hunting lifestyles of indigenous peoples and creatures such as polar bears, the Arctic Council says.
It is also making the region more accessible to oil exploration by companies such as Shell or Statoil and opening up areas for mining and for shipping across the Arctic Ocean. - ReutersTemperatures high in the Norwegian Arctic are above those in a natural warm period in... more
Despite the Democrat and Republican candidates near silence on the issue, climate change is happening, the impacts are getting more severe, and it’s not something we can choose to ignore.
Join us online Sunday to hear how Jill Stein’s Green New Deal would curb climate change and transition the United States to a sustainable economy.
Here’s how to participate in the event:
•Click here on Sunday 9/30 at 4pmPST/7pmEST. (Yes, it’s that easy!)
•Host a house party! (Of course, this is optional, but we’d be grateful if you chose to!) Have a little BBQ with neighbors and friends and watch the event together. If you and your guests are impressed with what you learn about the vision of the campaign, collect donations to help that dream become reality!
•Join the conversation online! Use the hashtag #ClimateTownHall to share your thoughts and questions with us on Twitter. Post comments on our Facebook wall, as well as your own (be sure to tag our page).
Have a question you’d like Jill to answer? You can submit questions both before and during the event in the following ways:
•Tweet your question using the hashtag #ClimateTownHall
•Post your question on our Facebook wall. (Please still tag it #ClimateTownHall, so we know it’s related to this event.)
•Share your question with us on Google+ (again, using the hashtag above).
•Submit your question during the event on LiveStream.
And, here’s how to help us demand action now!
This event is just one part of an entire day of action. The Green Party is urging local supporters to organize events (or issue a release) in your community to highlight our demand that the US take action now on climate change. The Green Party of NY has drafted a Green Climate Change Model Media Release and Green Climate Change Action Plan you can use for local releases, news conferences, and media events.
The Republicans are climate change deniers, the Democrats are climate change evaders. Contact email@example.com for more information.
•Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein
•Colin Beavan, aka No Impact Man, Green Party Candidate for Congress, will moderate the event
•Bill McKibben, author and climate change expert, will offer scientific, non-partisan background on the issue
More at the linkDespite the Democrat and Republican candidates near silence on the issue, climate... more
While Arctic methane probably will not be the beginning of the climate catastrophe, it may well be the end – if we don’t control CO2 emissions soon.
By David Archer of RealClimate on Sep 27, 2012 at 11:30 am
Walter Anthony et al (2012) have made a major contribution to the picture of methane emissions from thawing Arctic regions. Not a game-changer exactly, but definitely a graphics upgrade, bringing the game to life in stunningly higher resolution (/joke).
Katey Walter Anthony draws upon her previous field findings that methane emissions from the Arctic landscape tend to be focused at the intersection between frozen and thawed, in particular in rings around a peripheries of lakes. She also knew what a methane seep looks like in that landscape, leaving visible bubbles frozen into the ice or maintaining an unfrozen hole in the ice. Now she takes to the skies to produce an aerial survey of the Alaskan landscape, data that is so much more voluminous than before that it becomes different in kind.
The methane emission fluxes are higher than previous estimates, but that’s not really the most important point, because emissions from the Arctic are small relative to low-latitude wetlands, and doubling or even nearly quadrupling the Arctic fluxes (in one of their analyzed regions), they would still be small in terms of global climate forcing. And the lifetime of methane in the atmosphere is short, about 10 years, so methane doesn’t build up like CO2, SF6, and to a lesser extent N2O do.
The really interesting take-away from the new paper is how it shows that the near-surface geology and freezing state conspire to control the venting of accumulated gas dribbling up from below, and the decompostion of frozen soil carbon. They have so many methane seep observations that they are able to correlate them with
(1) currently melting permafrost, which allow fossil soil carbon deposits from the last ice age called Yedoma to decompose (Zimov et al 2006) and
(2) melting ice sheets and glaciers “un-crunching” the landscape as they fade away, making cracks that vent methane from deep thermal sources. Glaciers that melted long ago no longer vent methane, showing that the methane is transiently venting from built-up pools of gas.
What these results do not do is fundamentally change the game, in my opinion. We can now see more clearly that most of the methane flux from the Arctic today are of types of emission that will respond to climate warming. But the general response time of the system is slow, decades to centuries, rather than potentially poised to release a huge pulse of methane within a few years. Earthquakes and submarine landslides are sudden events, but small individually in terms of potential methane release. The new data do not change that. Walter Anthony et al. compare an estimate the amount of methane in the Arctic, 1200 Gton C, with the 5 Gton C of methane in the atmosphere. That’s the nightmare comparison, but it’s only really relevant if the methane comes out all at once. (The Arctic estimate is for methane itself and is mostly methane hydrate, but keep in mind that there is also a comparable amount of decomposable soil carbon.)
In my opinion, the largest impact of all this methane will probably be to the long-term future evolution of climate. Avoiding a peak warming of 2 degrees C or more requires keeping the total emission of carbon down to less than about 1000 Gton C (Allen et al 2009). We have already burned about 300 Gton C, and cut 200 Gton C although the land surface has taken up enough carbon to achieve net wash. So maybe we’re 1/3 of the way there, say 700 Gton C left to go. The 1200 Gton C of Arctic methane hydrates and the permafrost carbon stack up pretty menacingly against our 700 Gton left to go, and the comparison is relevant even if the carbon is emitted slowly, or as CO2 rather than methane, or even if it is released into the ocean rather than into the air (it will still equilibrate with the atmosphere, after a few centuries, converging to the same “long tail” CO2 trajectory that would have resulted from atmospheric release).
Arctic methane, and all that frozen soil carbon, could easily play a huge role, not so much in the near-term evolution of Earth’s climate, but in the long tail of the global warming climate event.While Arctic methane probably will not be the beginning of the climate catastrophe, it... more
The interactive quiz at link was created by Franke James, an artist who blends visual storytelling and science to inspire people to take action.The interactive quiz at link was created by Franke James, an artist who blends visual... more
Climate change is already contributing to the deaths of nearly 400,000 people a year and costing the world more than $1.2 trillion, wiping 1.6% annually from global GDP, according to a new study.
The impacts are being felt most keenly in developing countries, according to the research, where damage to agricultural production from extreme weather linked to climate change is contributing to deaths from malnutrition, poverty and their associated diseases.
Air pollution caused by the use of fossil fuels is also separately contributing to the deaths of at least 4.5m people a year, the report found.
The 331-page study, entitled Climate Vulnerability Monitor: A Guide to the Cold Calculus of A Hot Planet and published on Wednesday, was carried out by the DARA group, a non-governmental organisation based in Europe, and the Climate Vulnerable Forum. It was written by more than 50 scientists, economists and policy experts, and commissioned by 20 governments.
By 2030, the researchers estimate, the cost of climate change and air pollution combined will rise to 3.2% of global GDP, with the world's least developed countries forecast to bear the brunt, suffering losses of up to 11% of their GDP.
Sheikh Hasina, prime minister of Bangladesh, said: "A 1C rise in temperature [temperatures have already risen by 0.7C globally since the end of the 19th century] is associated with 10% productivity loss in farming. For us, it means losing about 4m tonnes of food grain, amounting to about $2.5bn. That is about 2% of our GDP. Adding up the damages to property and other losses, we are faced with a total loss of about 3-4% of GDP. Without these losses, we could have easily secured much higher growth."
But major economies will also take a hit, as extremes of weather and the associated damage – droughts, floods and more severe storms – could wipe 2% of the GDP of the US by 2030, while similar effects could cost China $1.2tr by the same date.
While many governments have taken the view that climate change is a long-term problem, there is a growing body of opinion that the effects are already being felt. Scientists have been alarmed by the increasingly rapid melting of Arctic sea ice, which reached a new record minimum this year and, if melting continues at similar rates, could be ice free in summer by the end of the decade. Some research suggests that this melting could be linked to cold, dull and rainy summers in parts of Europe – such as has been the predominant summer weather in the UK for the last six years. In the US, this year's severe drought has raised food prices and in India the disruption to the monsoon has caused widespread damage to farmers.
Connie Hedegaard, the European Union's climate chief, warned that extreme weather was becoming more common, as the effects of climate change take hold. "Climate change and weather extremes are not about a distant future," she wrote in a comment for the Guardian last week. "Formerly one-off extreme weather episodes seem to be becoming the new normal."
More at the linkClimate change is already contributing to the deaths of nearly 400,000 people a year... more
Press Release: New Zealand Climate Science Coalition
20 September 2012 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ANTARCTIC ICE AREA SETS RECORD HIGH
“Day 258 of 2012 is the highest for this date since satellite scanning of Antarctic ice areas commenced 33 years ago” the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition announced today. “It is also the fifth highest daily value on record.”
Coalition chairman, Hon Barry Brill, says the most remarkable aspect is the extent to which the 2012 area exceeds normal Antarctica averages. “The sea ice cover yesterday was 311,000 square kilometres above the 1979-2012 average. The surplus ice is more than twice the area of New Zealand”.
“The Antarctic dimensions come partly at the expense of Arctic sea ice” said Mr Brill. “Over the 33-year period aggregate global sea ice volumes have remained steady, but there are fluctuations between the two polar areas from year to year. The fluctuations are the result of ocean currents and wind patterns, rather than temperatures”.
“Antarctic ice is much more important than that of the Arctic. The area of its sea ice is a million square kilometres larger than the highest value ever recorded in the Arctic. Then, of course, the Antarctic is an entire continent, with more than 90% of the earth’s glacial ice” said Mr Brill.
“It is appropriate that this record should occur in a week that The Listener carries a cover story featuring the winter low point of Arctic ice, along with multiple pictures of calving glaciers and forlorn polar bears,” said Mr Brill. “The magazine has little to say about the Antarctic apart from complaining that it is “poorly understood”. The author also avoids mentioning the glaring facts that no significant global warming has been recorded in the past 16 years, and that sea level rise is apparently decelerating.
“It is unfortunate that under-informed writers, albeit unwittingly, mislead their readers who should be helped to understand the difference between sea ice extent and ice cap ice, both thickness and extent as regards the latter. The ice cap in the Arctic is small compared to the Antarctic. The cap of the Antarctic is increasing in thickness in most places, except around the Antarctic Peninsula.
Sea ice extent is largely a consequence of sea surface temperature, ocean currents and wind,” said Mr Brill, who advised those interested in graphic confirmation of Antarctic sea ice readings to refer to:
Ice melts in Summer and forms in Winter. It's elementary.Press Release: New Zealand Climate Science Coalition
20 September 2012 FOR... more
A New Climate State: Arctic Sea Ice 2012
Video produced by independent videographer Peter Sinclair for The Yale Forum on Climate Change & The Media explains what expert scientists now find to be the lowest extent of Arctic sea ice in recorded history.
This Is Not Cool.
Published on Sep 23, 2012 by yaleclimateforumA New Climate State: Arctic Sea Ice 2012
Video produced by independent videographer... more
Two House Democrats have released a report that aims to connect the dots on climate change and extreme weather events.
The staff report, issued by Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward Markey (D-Mass.), outlines the past year’s record-setting temperatures, storms, droughts, water levels and wildfires, and is being circulated in an attempt to rebuild congressional momentum to address climate change.
“The evidence is overwhelming — climate change is occurring and it is occurring now,” said Rep. Waxman, a Ranking Member of the Energy and Commerce Committee, in a statement.
The report outlines the stunning array of record-breaking extreme weather events throughout 2012 within five categories:
- July was the hottest month ever recorded in the continental U.S. Some areas were 8 degrees warmer than average, with the average temperature in the lower 48 states at 77.6 degrees Fahrenheit, 3.3 degrees above the 20th century average.
- Spring 2012 saw the warmest march, third-warmest April and second-warmest May in history, and was approximately 5.2 degrees Fahrenheit above average overall.
- Through late June 2011, daily record highs were outnumbering daily record lows by 9-to-1.
- As of September, 64 percent of the continental U.S. is experiencing drought, with August and September 2012 comparable to the worst months of the 1930s Dust Bowl.
- By the beginning of August, more than half the counties in the U.S. had been designated disaster zones because of drought.
- As of August, 51 percent of corn and 38 percent of soybeans grown in the U.S. were rated as poor or very poor by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Some states’ corn fared worse – Indiana had 70 percent of its corn rated as poor or very poor, and Missouri had 84 percent.
- This fire season 8.6 million acres – roughly the size of Connecticut and New Jersey combined – have burned in the U.S., with fires still burning in parts of the West.
- Wildfires in Colorado have killed six people, destroyed 600 homes and caused about $500 million in property damage.
- There has been nearly a four-fold increase in large wildfires in the West in recent decades, with fires burning longer and more intensely and wildfire seasons lasting longer.
- Tropical Storm Debby caused Florida to have its wettest June on record. The storm killed at least seven people and also damaged more than 7,500 homes and businesses.
- In July, the “derecho” storm system killed at least 23 people and left more than 3.7 million people without power.
- In August, Hurricane Isaac caused storm surges of up to 15 feet in some places and contributed to Louisiana and Mississippi experiencing their second-wettest August on record and to Florida experiencing its wettest summer on record.
Extreme water levels and water temperatures
- In July, water in the Great Lakes reached temperatures of 60 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit – more than 10 degrees warmer than the same time last year.
- In August, water temperatures of up to 97 degrees and low water levels caused tens of thousands of fish to die in Midwestern lakes and rivers.
- Low water levels in the Mississippi watershed have caused some barge companies to reduce their loads by 25 percent and have caused harbor closures in Tennessee, Missouri, Arkansas and Mississippi.
According to the report, 2012 natural disasters (not including wildfires or drought) have caused $22 billion in insured losses and more than 220 deaths as of August. The full cost of 2012’s extreme weather events isn’t yet known, but it’s expected to rival 2011’s record-breaking $55 billion.
The document outlines what scientists following the link between extreme weather and climate change have been saying for years: more carbon pollution adds extra energy in the atmosphere, thus warming the planet and making extreme weather events more likely.
“This is what global warming looks like at the regional or personal level,” said University of Arizona scientist Jonathan Overpeck, speaking to the Associated Press recently.
“The extra heat increases the odds of worse heat waves, droughts, storms and wildfire. This is certainly what I and many other climate scientists have been warning about.”
Research shows that Americans are responding to these extreme weather events. According to separate polls from Yale University and the Brookings Institute, a majority of Americans say climate change is happening and that a warming planet makes weather events worse. Pollsters say these responses are directly influenced by personal experience with extreme weather…
Even while Americans show an understanding of climate science, the staff report from Waxman and Markey comes at a time when political resistance to climate action is at an all-time high and both political candidates avoid speaking openly on the issue.
By Katie Valentine and Stephen Lacey on Sep 25, 2012 at 3:31 pmTwo House Democrats have released a report that aims to connect the dots on climate... more
Shelled beings will be affected, such as crab, lobster, sea urchin, and pteropods (swimming snails), among many others, by 1) making it more difficult to create the shells they need to survive and 2) by actually dissolving the existing shells of some species...
http://veracitystew.com/?p=42882Shelled beings will be affected, such as crab, lobster, sea urchin, and pteropods... more
State of Green is an unbiased look at the effects of the renewable energy revolution on the people of Vermont and, by extension, the country.
The homepage for the film is http://www.stateofgreenmovie.com
http://kck.st/PHOKm4State of Green is an unbiased look at the effects of the renewable energy revolution... more
High grain costs, caused by severe drought, are hitting dinner tables from Guatemala to China. But the world has learned valuable lessons since the food shocks of 2008. Will it be enough to prevent social unrest?
By Dan Murphy, Staff writer / September 23, 2012 / Cover Story
Our story begins near Prairie City, Iowa, in the fields of Gordon Wassenaar, who has been coaxing food out of some of the world's richest earth for 57 years. Normally, Mr. Wassenaar is able to harvest about 200 bushels of corn per acre from his land – bin-bursting crops that are sent off to feed people in places as disparate as Michigan and Malawi.
Not this year.
As he walks the 1,500 acres that he farms, Wassenaar occasionally pauses to finger a stalk and peel back the husk, revealing corn that is shriveled and stunted. He figures that the headstrong drought of 2012 will cost him about 40 percent of his harvest.
"It's not that we're gonna go out of business overnight," he says. "But what we're worried about is next year. We've got to get some moisture."
The lean yields on Wassenaar's land, and those of other grain farmers across America's Great Breadbasket, are ricocheting around the world, from Guatemala, to Indonesia, to China. One of the worst droughts in a half century – Wassenaar says it's the most severe he's seen since the year he began farming, in 1955 – is raising prices for some of the world's most important foodstuffs.
The effects are being exacerbated by churlish weather in other parts of the world – notably in the big wheat-producing areas of Russia, Ukraine, and other countries that hug the Black Sea, where a more moderate drought has hit, as well as in Australia, the globe's No. 2 wheat exporter, where below-average rainfall is expected to reduce the November harvest by more than 10 percent.
As the impact of the droughts works through the global food system, an urgent question looms: How hard are people being squeezed – and will it lead to possible social unrest?
This is no idle consideration. The world has been at this point before, as recently as 2008.
At the time, global food prices were soaring, emergency stockpiles were depleted, and, with drought on two continents, little relief seemed in sight.
From Russia, to Panama, to the Philippines, almost everywhere really, governments did precisely the wrong thing. They panicked, rushing into grain markets to stockpile supplies or banning exports. Speculators poured in after them, like lions harassing a herd of antelope, raising prices even further beyond the rational laws of supply and demand.
What followed were bread riots across the developing world from Haiti in the west, through Egypt and Cameroon, and on east to Pakistan and Bangladesh – nearly 30 countries in all. The food crisis of 2008, and a smaller price spike in 2010, also set the stage for the Arab uprisings of 2011 that are still remaking the politics of the Middle East.
Now some see the same danger and disquiet gathering in world capitals as grain prices escalate once again. Except this time there's one key difference: so far, no panic.
Nations around the world have learned some valuable lessons since 2008. More of them have been stocking their larders and preparing for a new global reality driven by increasingly erratic weather and growing demand.
This is not to say the latest droughts are having no impact around the world's dinner tables. Far from it. In countries where a 20 percent increase in the price of a loaf of bread or a sack of rice is often the difference between keeping children in school, setting a little money aside for emergencies, and staving off hunger, the political and social repercussions are still being felt.
Yet 2012 is providing a window into how far the world has come in dealing with the fluctuations of the weather and the interdependence of world food supplies – and how far it still needs to go. The pressures to improve the system will only increase. The planet is growing hotter and drier, and the global population stands at 7 billion and counting.
Continued at linkHigh grain costs, caused by severe drought, are hitting dinner tables from Guatemala... more
SUMMIT COUNTY — Federal ocean scientists said this year’s sea surface temperatures along the northeast coast of the U.S. set all-time records, with as-yet unknown consequences for marine ecosystems.
Above-average temperatures were found in all parts of the ecosystem, from the ocean bottom to the sea surface and across the region, and the above average temperatures extended beyond the shelf break front to the Gulf Stream, according to an ecosystem advisory issued by NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center.
The warm waters led to the earliest, most intense and longest-lasting plankton bloom on record, with implications for marine life, from the smallest creatures to the largest marine mammals like whales. Atlantic cod continued to shift northeastward from its historic distribution center.
“A pronounced warming event occurred on the Northeast Shelf this spring, and this will have a profound impact throughout the ecosystem,” said Kevin Friedland, a scientist in the NEFSC’s Ecosystem Assessment Program. “Changes in ocean temperatures and the timing of the spring plankton bloom could affect the biological clocks of many marine species, which spawn at specific times of the year based on environmental cues like water temperature.”
Friedland said the average sea surface temperature exceeded 51 degrees during the first half of 2012, topping the previous record high set in 1951.The average sea surface temperature the past three decades has ranged around 48 degrees.
Temperatures climbed even higher than that in some near-shore locations like Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay, where sea surface temperature readings were more than 6 degrees above historical average and more than 5 degrees above average at the seafloor.
In deeper offshore waters to the north, bottom waters were 2 degrees warmer in the eastern Gulf of Maine and more than 3.6 degrees warmer in the western Gulf of Maine.
This year’s record-high ocean temperatures are a spike in a long-term trend that is push many commercial fish farther north and east in a response to ecosystem warming.
A 2009 study of data from 1968 to 2007 found that about half of the 36 fish stocks studied in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean have been shifting northward over the past four decades, with some disappearing from US waters as they move farther offshore.
Friedland said that, although cod didn’t shift as much as other species like hake in the 2009 study, the effects of warming water on ocean currents and other ocean circulation patterns could change that.
“Cod distribution continues to be dynamic, with northerly shifts detected in the spring 2012 data, consistent with a response to ecosystem warming,” Friedland said. “The big question is whether or not these changes will continue, or are they a short-term anomaly?”
Mike Fogarty, who heads the Ecosystem Assessment Program, says the abundance of cod and other finfish is controlled by a complex set of factors, and that increasing temperatures in the ecosystem make it essential to monitor the distribution of many species, some of them migratory and others not.
“A complex combination of factors influence ocean conditions, and it isn’t always easy to understand the big picture when you are looking at one specific part of it at one specific point in time, “Fogarty said. “We now have information from a variety of sources collected over a long period of time on the ecosystem, and are continually adding more data to clarify specific details. The data clearly show a relationship between all of these factors.”
The 2012 spring plankton bloom, one of the longest duration and most intense in recent history, started at the earliest date recorded since the ocean color remote sensing data series began in 1998. In some locations, the spring bloom began in February, and was fully developed by March in all areas except Georges Bank, which had an average although variable spring bloom. The 2012 spring bloom in the Gulf of Maine began in early March, the earliest recorded bloom in that area.
“What this early start means for the Northeast Shelf ecosystem and its marine life is unknown,” Fogarty said. “What is known is that things are changing, and we need to continue monitoring and adapting to these changes.”
Plankton samples are collected six times a year in each of the four subareas of the Northeast Shelf: the Middle Atlantic Bight, Southern New England, Georges Bank, and the Gulf of Maine. EcoMon scientists also collect water samples and other oceanographic data about conditions during each season in each of the four areas to provide a long-term view of changing conditions on the Shelf.
Ecosystem advisories have been issued twice a year by the NEFSC’s Ecosystems Assessment Program since 2006 as a way to routinely summarize overall conditions in the region. The reports show the effects of changing coastal and ocean temperatures on fisheries from Cape Hatteras to the Canadian border. The advisories provide a snapshot of the ecosystem for the fishery management councils and also a broad range of stakeholders from fishermen to researchers.
By Bob Berwyn on September 19, 2012SUMMIT COUNTY — Federal ocean scientists said this year’s sea surface... more
We can debate the reasons for it, but there is no question that over the last 40 years the average size of wildfires has increased. The data we collected from the National Interagency Fire Center when grouped by decade shows that the average size of fires between 1970 and 2009 has more than quadrupled.
Climate Central has also noticed this and issued a report about the change in fire activity over the last 42 years. Here are some highlights:
- The National Research Council reports that for every degree Celsius (1.8°F) of temperature increase, the size of the area burned in the Western U.S. could quadruple.
- For the last decade, compared to the 1970s, there were 7 times more fires greater than 10,000 acres and nearly 5 times more fires larger than 25,000 acres each year.
- Since the 1970s the average number of fires over 1,000 acres each year has nearly quadrupled in Arizona and Idaho, and has doubled in California, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming.
- The burn season is two and a half months longer than 40 years ago.
- Rising spring and summer temperatures across the West appear to be correlated to the increasing size and numbers of wildfires. Spring and summer temperatures have increased more rapidly across this region than the rest of the country, in recent decades. Since 1970, years with above-average spring and summer temperatures were typically years with the biggest wildfires.
In spite of this clear trend of increasing wildfires, Congress and the Administration have been reducing the budgets of the federal land management agencies, and have cut the number of large air tankers on exclusive use contracts by 80 percent since 2002, from 44 to 9. However, seven more air tankers may be added over the next year, bringing the total to 16. William Scott, a fire aviation expert who also has experience in the National Security Agency, thinks that terrorists could, and perhaps already are waging economic war inside the United State by starting wildfires which can cost the government and residents billions of dollars.We can debate the reasons for it, but there is no question that over the last 40 years... more
When Arctic sea ice fell to its lowest level ever recorded this August, the ice covered an area 45 percent smaller than it did in the 1990′s. The amount of ice that melted in the Arctic this year is roughly the size of Canada and Texas combined.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has just released a video illustrating the record melt.
NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center also released its latest data on Arctic ice on Monday. The previous record for Arctic ice melt was in 2007; however, as the data show, this year brought an additional loss of ice equivalent to the size of Texas. During August of 2012, Arctic ice disappeared at a rate of 35,400 miles per day.
Researchers are calling the melt “astonishing” and “urgent.” One prominent scientist, Cambridge University’s Peter Wadhams, is now projecting that summer sea ice in the Arctic may entirely disappear in the next four years — calling the implications “terrible.”
“As the sea ice retreats in summer the ocean warms up (to 7C in 2011) and this warms the seabed too. The continental shelves of the Arctic are composed of offshore permafrost, frozen sediment left over from the last ice age. As the water warms the permafrost melts and releases huge quantities of trapped methane, a very powerful greenhouse gas so this will give a big boost to global warming,” he told the Guardian newspaper.
The National Climatic Data Center also released data showing this summer was the third-warmest ever recorded globally, with August marking the 330th consecutive month when temperatures were above the 20th century average.
By Stephen Lacey on Sep 18, 2012 at 9:39 amWhen Arctic sea ice fell to its lowest level ever recorded this August, the ice... more
A musical investigation into the causes and effects of global climate change and our opportunities to use science to offset it. Featuring Bill Nye, David Attenborough, Richard Alley and Isaac Asimov. "Our Biggest Challenge" is the 16th episode of the Symphony of Science series by melodysheepA musical investigation into the causes and effects of global climate change and our... more
JanforGore has it right -- it is damn close to the point where it's too late to stop the warming onslaught; the funny thing about that is all those oil company executives will be caught in that same great death ...
The planet's last great global ice melt left a benign and balmy climate in which civilisation was cradled: the new great melting heralds a grave threat to civilisation
by Damian Carrington
Our planet is waving the white flag of surrender. But as the polar flag becomes ever more tattered, with holes scorched by hotter ocean waters, humanity pumps ever more globe-warming gases into the air.A webcam at the north pole shows ice cap melting on
The story of the Arctic ice cap is the story of modern environmentalism. In 1968, as satellites began to document the vast ice field blanketing the north pole, the iconic Earthrise image was beamed back to the ground. It revealed a planet of awesome beauty, deep blue oceans, verdant continents and crowned with at least 8m square kilometres of gleaming ice. The image kickstarted the global green movement.
In 2007, a new record was set for the minimum summer sea ice cover in the Arctic had halved. This furious flag waving attracted attention. That year, the world's scientists declared the end of any doubt that our addiction to burning fossil fuels was changing the face of the planet. Al Gore expounded his inconvenient truth and the world seemed set to act.
Today, that 2007 record is smashed and the shredded white flag is now flickering rathering than flashing. But the danger is greater than even, even if the alarm signal is frayed.
The last great global ice melt the planet witnessed came 10,000 years ago at the end of a deep ice age. As glaciers retreated, a benign and balmy climate emerged in which the human race has flourished. Our entire civilisation is built on the warm soils left as the ice sheets melted.
This new great melting heralds the polar opposite: the gravest of threats to civilisation. Removing the lid from the pole will release heat equivalent to fast-forwarding human-caused climate change by two decades, say scientists.
Will this be the first great tipping point to tumble the world into a new and hostile climate regime, as the cooling, reflective ice vanishes? Will the new, warm Arctic radically alter the temperate weather enjoyed by Europeans, for whom global warming has seemed a distant concern?
We seem to be prepared to take that chance. The shrinking ice has not opened new leads for decisive global action to tackle climate change. Instead, in a vicious irony, the new channels are being exploited for oil and gas exploration, unearthing more of the very fuels driving the warming.
Decades from now, will today's record sea ice low be seen as the moment when our Earthly paradise gave up the ghost and entered a hellish new era? I sincerely hope not, but with this global distress signal failing to attract attention, I fear the worstJanforGore has it right -- it is damn close to the point where it's too late to... more
World's Hottest Temperature Cools a Bit
ScienceDaily (Sep. 13, 2012) — If you think this summer was hot, it's nothing compared to the summer of 1913, when the hottest temperature ever recorded was a searing 134 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley, Calif. But while that reading was made 99 years ago, it is only being recognized today by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) as the most extreme temperature ever recorded.
That's because an international team of meteorologists recently finished an in-depth investigation of what had been the world-record temperature extreme of 58 degrees Celsius (136.4 F), recorded on Sept. 13, 1922, in El Azizia, Libya. The group found that there were enough questions surrounding the measurement and how it was made that it was probably inaccurate, overturning the record 90 years to the day it was recorded.
"We found systematic errors in the 1922 reading," said Randy Cerveny, an ASU President's Professor in the School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. "This change to the record books required significant sleuthing and a lot of forensic records work," added Cerveny, who also is the Rapporteur of Climate and Weather Extremes for the WMO, the person responsible for keeping worldwide weather records.
Officially, the "new" world record temperature extreme is 56.7 C (134 F), recorded on July 10, 1913, at Greenland Ranch in Death Valley, Calif.
"In the heart of every meteorologist and climatologist beats the soul of a detective," said Cerveny. In this case the weather detectives had to work around an unfolding revolution in Libya.
Cerveny said the El Azizia temperature had long been thought as dubious. It was recorded in 1922 at what then was an Italian army base.
The international meteorological team -- which included experts from Libya, Italy, Spain, Egypt, France, Morocco, Argentina, the United States and the United Kingdom -- identified five major concerns with the El Azizia temperature record. They included the use of antiquated instrumentation, a likely inexperienced observer, an observation site which was not representative of the desert surroundings, poor matching of the extreme to other nearby locations and poor matching to subsequent temperatures recorded at the site.
The WMO evaluation committee concluded the most compelling scenario for the 1922 event was that a new and inexperienced observer, not trained in the use of an unsuitable replacement instrument that could be easily misread, improperly recorded the observation. The reading was consequently in error by about 7 degrees Celsius (12.6 F).
The detective work Cerveny describes included finding and examining the original log sheet, which he said was very useful. In reconstructing the events, Cerveny describes a person new to making temperature measurements being asked to make the measurements with a "Six-Bellini thermometer," which even by 1922 standards was an obsolete piece of technology. By reviewing the logs, it became apparent that the person who recorded the temperature was transposing what he read from the thermometer, consistently scoring the readings in the wrong column of the log.
"One of the problems with a Six-Bellini thermometer is that the indicator -- the pointer -- to the temperature scale could conceivably be read at the top of the pointer or the bottom of the pointer," Cerveny explained. "If an inexperienced observer used the top of the pointer rather than the bottom, he would have been as much as 7 C in error. "
Other telling forensic information included the general location of where the measurement was made -- El Azizia is roughly 35 miles southwest of Tripoli, which is on the Mediterranean coast -- and the fact that the record temperature pretty much stood out among all of the other recorded values near the El Azizia location.
"When we compared his observations to surrounding areas and to other measurements made before and after the 1922 reading, they simply didn't match up," Cerveny said.
Investigation during a revolution
The investigation was launched in 2010 and soon after the revolution in Libya started to form. The Libyan official on the team (Khalid El Fadli, director of the climate section of the Libyan National Meteorological Center) fell out of contact with the rest of the team for about eight months and the investigation went into a suspended state. Then El Fadli sent word that he was safe (although he and his family left Tripoli for a while to avoid being accidently shot in the turmoil) and he could resume his role in the investigation. But another three weeks passed before El Fadli was heard from again.
"Khalid El Fadli did this at great risk to himself," Cerveny said. "He was an official of the previous regime, so when the revolution began to turn, his safety was a key concern."
Fortunately, after the revolution, El Fadli could resume his duties as a lead meteorologist with the new government and the investigation started up again.
Beyond establishing bragging rights, Cerveny said the world record highest temperature does have some important uses.
"This is the highest recorded temperature of where people live, so this type of data can help cities that exist in such environments to design buildings that are best suited for these extremes," he said. "Knowing the maximum temperatures certain materials must endure leads to better products and designs. That's why many auto manufactures have test tracks in the hot Mohave desert.
Cerveny added that there also are important basic science implications in this finding.
"This investigation demonstrates that, because of continued improvements in meteorology and climatology, researchers can now reanalyze past weather records in much more detail and with greater precision than ever before," Cerveny explained. "The end result is an even better set of data for analysis of important global and regional questions involving climate change."
A full list of weather and climate extremes is available at the WMO Archive of Weather and Climate Extremes (http://wmo.asu.edu/). This includes the world's highest and lowest temperatures, rainfall, heaviest hailstone, longest dry period, maximum gust of wind, as well as hemispheric weather and climate extremes.World's Hottest Temperature Cools a Bit
ScienceDaily (Sep. 13, 2012) —... more
The heat in August couldn’t match July’s record-smashing intensity across the continental U.S.. But the summer as a whole - spanning the entire June-August period - ranked 3rd hottest on record, NOAA reports today.
August ranked 16th warmest on record, with an average temperature 1.6 degrees above the 20th century average. Taking August together with the much warmer than average June (2 degrees above average, 14th warmest on record) and the singularly scorching July (3.3 degrees average), the entire summer averaged 2.3 degrees above average, trailing only 2011 (by 0.2 degrees) and 1936 (by 0.1 degrees) in the hottest summer rankings.
“The summer heatwaves this year were not quite as intense as the heat in 2011, but they affected more people,” writes Climate Central’s Andrew Freedman. “According to NOAA, more than 80 million people — about 10 million more than 2011 — experienced 100°F temperatures this summer.”The heat in August couldn’t match July’s record-smashing intensity across... more
As the northern summer draws to a close, two milestones have been reached in the Arctic Ocean — record-low sea ice extent, and an even more dramatic new low in Arctic sea ice volume. This extreme melting offers dramatic evidence, many scientists say, that the region’s sea ice has passed a tipping point and that sometime in the next decade or two the North Pole will be largely ice-free in summer.
NASA and U.S. ice experts announced earlier this week that the extent of Arctic sea ice has dropped to 4.1 million square kilometers (1.58 million square miles) — breaking the previous record set in 2007 — and will likely continue to fall even farther until mid-September. As the summer melt season ends, the Arctic Ocean will be covered with 45 percent less ice than the average from 1979 to 2000.
NASA On August 26, Arctic sea ice reached a new record-low summer extent.
Even more striking is the precipitous decline in the volume of ice in the Arctic Ocean. An analysis conducted by the University of Washington’s Pan Arctic Ice Ocean Model Assimilation System (PIOMAS) estimates that sea ice volumes fell in late August to roughly 3,500 cubic kilometers — a 72-percent drop from the 1979-2010 mean.
Peter Wadhams, who heads the Polar Ocean Physics Group at the University of Cambridge and who has been measuring Arctic Ocean ice thickness from British Navy submarines, says that earlier calculations about Arctic sea ice loss have grossly underestimated how rapidly the ice is disappearing. He believes that the Arctic is likely to become ice-free before 2020 and possibly as early as 2015 or 2016 — decades ahead of projections made just a few years ago.
Mark Drinkwater, mission scientist for the European Space Agency’s CryoSat satellite and the agency’s senior advisor on polar regions, said he and his colleagues have been taken aback by the swiftness of Arctic sea ice retreat in the last 5 years. “If this rate of melting [in 2012] is sustained in 2013, we are staring down the barrel and looking at a summer Arctic which is potentially free of sea ice within this decade,” Drinkwater said in an e-mail interview.
More at the linkAs the northern summer draws to a close, two milestones have been reached in the... more
People around the world are noticing that our planet's weather is dramatically changing. They are also beginning to notice the long lingering trails left behind airplanes that have lead millions to accept the reality of chemtrail/geoengineering programs. Could there be a connection between the trails and our severe weather?
While there are many agendas associated with these damaging programs, evidence is now abundant which proves that geoengineering can be used to control weather. In this documentary you will learn how the aerosols being sprayed into our sky are used in conjunction with other technologies to control our weather. While geoengineers maintain that their models are only for the mitigation of global warming, it is now clear that they can be used as a way to consolidate an enormous amount of both monetary and political power into the hands of a few by the leverage that weather control gives certain corporations over the Earth's natural systems.
This of course, is being done at the expense of every living thing on the planet. Directed/Produced by Michael J. Murphy and Produced/Edited by Barry Kolsky.. Written by Michael J. Murphy and Barry Kolsky.People around the world are noticing that our planet's weather is dramatically... more