tagged w/ Global Warming
Charlotte O'Brien, Director of Bio Bamboo and CO2 Drawdown Solutions, explains how to significantly draw down Carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it as a Bio-Char soil conditioner using Bamboo to fuel Pyrolysis. Adding the Bio-Char to depleted soil fosters the spread of Mycorrhizal fungus in the soil, which in turn creates Glomalin (which sequesters even more Carbon). The enriched soil then produces more biomass which can be processed into more biochar...the result is an exponential carbon draw down!
The process also generates a bevy of marketable bi-products.Charlotte O'Brien, Director of Bio Bamboo and CO2 Drawdown Solutions, explains... more
Porters carry cores of ancient glacial ice down from the 6542m summit of Mt Sajama in Bolivia. 97% of scientific papers taking a position on climate change say it is man-made. Photograph: George Steinmetz/Corbis
Overwhelming majority of peer-reviewed papers taking a position on global warming say humans are causing it.
Our team of citizen science volunteers at Skeptical Science has published a new survey in the journal Environmental Research Letters of over 12,000 peer-reviewed climate science papers, as the Guardian reports today. This is the most comprehensive survey of its kind, and the inspiration of this blog's name: Climate Consensus – the 97%.
(click on the link to access the complete article and the in-text links)Porters carry cores of ancient glacial ice down from the 6542m summit of Mt Sajama in... more
WASHINGTON (AP) — The old saying that "what goes up must come down" doesn't apply to carbon dioxide pollution in the air, which just hit an unnerving milestone.
The chief greenhouse gas was measured Thursday at 400 parts per million in Hawaii, a monitoring site that sets the world's benchmark. It's a symbolic mark that scientists and environmentalists have been anticipating for years.
While this week's number has garnered all sorts of attention, it is just a daily reading in the month when the chief greenhouse gas peaks in the Northern Hemisphere. It will be lower the rest of the year. This year will probably average around 396 ppm. But not for long — the trend is going up and at faster and faster rates.
Within a decade the world will never see days — even in the cleanest of places on days in the fall when greenhouse gases are at their lowest — when the carbon measurement falls below 400 ppm, said James Butler, director of global monitoring at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Earth Science Research Lab in Boulder, Colo.
"The 400 is a reminder that our emissions are not only continuing, but they're accelerating; that's a scary thing," Butler said Saturday. "We're stuck. We're going to keep going up."
Carbon dioxide stays in the air for a century, some of it into the thousands of years. And the world carbon dioxide pollution levels are accelerating yearly. Every second, the world's smokestacks and cars pump 2.4 million pounds of the heat-trapping gas into the air.
Carbon pollution levels that used to be normal for the 20th century are fast becoming history in the 21st century.
"It means we are essentially passing one in a whole series of points of no return," said Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University.
Princeton University climate scientist Michael Oppenheimer said the momentum in carbon dioxide emissions has the world heading toward and passing 450 ppm. That is the level which would essentially mean the world warms another 2 degrees, what scientists think of as dangerous, he said. That 2-degree mark is what much of the world's nations have set as a goal to prevent.
"The direction we've seen is for blowing through the best benchmark for what's dangerous change," Oppenheimer said.
And to see what the future is, scientists look to the past.
The last time the worldwide carbon level probably hit 400 ppm was about 2 million years ago, said Pieter Tans of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
That was during the Pleistocene Era. "It was much warmer than it is today," Tans said. "There were forests in Greenland. Sea level was higher, between 10 and 20 meters (33 to 66 feet)."
Other scientists say it may have been 10 million years ago that Earth last encountered this much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The first modern humans only appeared in Africa about 200,000 years ago.
Environmental activists, such as former Vice President Al Gore, seized on the milestone.
"This number is a reminder that for the last 150 years — and especially over the last several decades — we have been recklessly polluting the protective sheath of atmosphere that surrounds the Earth and protects the conditions that have fostered the flourishing of our civilization," Gore said in a statement. "We are altering the composition of our atmosphere at an unprecedented rate."
Carbon dioxide traps heat just like in a greenhouse. It accounts for three-quarters of the planet's heat-trapping gases. There are others, such as methane, which has a shorter life span but traps heat more effectively. Both trigger temperatures to rise over time, scientists say, which is causing sea levels to rise and some weather patterns to change.
When measurements of carbon dioxide were first taken in 1958, it measured 315 ppm. Some scientists and environmental groups promote 350 ppm as a safe level for CO2, but scientists acknowledge they don't really know what levels would stop the effects of global warming.
The level of carbon dioxide in the air is rising faster than in the past decades, despite international efforts by developed nations to curb it. On average the amount is growing by about 2 ppm per year. That's 100 times faster than at the end of the Ice Age.
Back then, it took 7,000 years for carbon dioxide to reach 80 ppm, Tans said. Because of the burning of fossil fuels, such as oil and coal, carbon dioxide levels have gone up by that amount in just 55 years.
Before the Industrial Revolution, carbon dioxide levels were around 280 ppm, and they were closer to 200 during the Ice Age, which is when sea levels shrank and polar places went from green to icy. There are natural ups and downs of this greenhouse gas, which comes from volcanoes and decomposing plants and animals. But that's not what has driven current levels so high, Tans said. He said the amount should be even higher, but the world's oceans are absorbing quite a bit, keeping it out of the air.
"What we see today is 100 percent due to human activity," said Tans, a NOAA senior scientist. The burning of fossil fuels, such as coal for electricity and oil for gasoline, has caused the overwhelming bulk of the man-made increase in carbon in the air, scientists say.
More at the linkWASHINGTON (AP) — The old saying that "what goes up must come down"... more
"The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has steadily risen from 317 parts per million in 1958, when measurements began, to 400.
Scientists believe the last time CO2 levels were this high was 2 to 4 million years ago. Sea levels during that period were up to 131 feet higher."
http://mcspocky.com/video/view/6"The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has steadily risen from 317 parts... more
AT NOON on May 4th the carbon-dioxide concentration in the atmosphere around the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii hit 400 parts per million (ppm). The average for the day was 399.73 and researchers at the observatory expect this figure, too, to exceed 400 in the next few days. The last time such values prevailed on Earth was in the Pliocene epoch, 4m years ago, when jungles covered northern Canada.
There have already been a few readings above 400ppm elsewhere—those taken over the Arctic Ocean in May 2012, for example—but they were exceptional. Mauna Loa is the benchmark for CO2 measurement (and has been since 1958, see chart) because Hawaii is so far from large concentrations of humanity. The Arctic, by contrast, gets a lot of polluted air from Europe and North America.
The concentration of CO2 peaks in May, falls until October as plant growth in the northern hemisphere’s summer absorbs the gas, and then goes up again during winter and spring. This year the average reading for the whole month will probably also reach 400ppm, according to Pieter Tans, who is in charge of monitoring at Mauna Loa, and the seasonally adjusted annual figure will reach 400ppm in the spring of 2014 or 2015.
Mauna Loa’s readings are one of the world’s longest-running measurement series. The first, made in March 1958, was 315ppm. That means they have risen by a quarter in 55 years. In the early 1960s they were going up by 0.7ppm a year. The rate of increase is now 2.1ppm—three times as fast—reflecting the relentless rise in greenhouse-gas emissions.
As a rule of thumb, CO2 concentrations will have to be restricted to about 450ppm if global warming is to be kept below 2°C (a level that might possibly be safe). Because CO2 stays in the atmosphere for decades, artificial emissions of the gas would have to be cut immediately, and then fall to zero by 2075, in order to achieve 450ppm. There seems no chance of that. Emissions are still going up. At current rates, the Mauna Loa reading will rise above 450ppm in 2037.
May 11th 2013 | From the print editionAT NOON on May 4th the carbon-dioxide concentration in the atmosphere around the Mauna... more
After a record loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean last year, the 2013 melt season has begun at the top of the world, with ice vanishing in April at a faster pace than it did this time last year.
Massive Arctic ice melt far surpasses previous record
Arctic ice reaches record low, could worsen global warming (+video) .
Summer sea ice – a key player in Earth's climate system and one whose decline is widely taken as a prominent sign of global warming – has been shrinking in extent since satellites first started to build a consistent record of the ice in late 1978. Ice losses in 2007 set a melt-season record, only to be eclipsed by last year's decline. Ice volume and thickness also have been declining during the past 34 years.
More at the link
World Continues To Warm In 2012 in spite of La Nina.After a record loss of summer sea ice in the Arctic Ocean last year, the 2013 melt... more
Winds that weather experts said normally arrive in force in the late fall fueled flames in the Springs fire that quickly chewed through 6,500 of acres of dry brush.
William Patzert, a climatologist for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada, said that Southern California’s weather has been out-of-whack, with Santa Ana winds descending on Southern California much earlier than they usually do and low moisture levels.
“It was promising up to December and then all of sudden Mother Nature turned off the spigot,” he said. “It’s remarkable to get Santa Anas in May.… Every way you look at it, it’s been remarkable, unusual and incendiary.”
Southern California, like much of the state, has experienced record levels of dry conditions since the nominal “rain year” began last July. With only about five inches of rain since that time, Los Angeles is headed toward its fourth-driest year since 1877. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, which protects about a third of the state, said that it has dealt with more than 150 blazes this year compared to 2012.
Patzert said Saturday and Sunday should see some cooling, with the possibility of drizzle on the tail end of the weekend. But there’s no logical reason to expect Southern California to get significant rain until late in the year. Since the New Year, downtown L.A. has experienced less than two inches of rain through months that are almost always the year’s wettest.
Average for this point in the rain year is more than 11 inches of rainfall.
“We are at 17%. That is exceptional,” he said. "Our hope for a drought buster was dashed and an early fire season was guaranteed."
More at the link
World Continues To Warm In 2012 in spite of La Nina.Winds that weather experts said normally arrive in force in the late fall fueled... more
Peter Jackson, a meteorologist in Prince George B.C., couldn’t believe what he was seeing on his radar screen. It was like a rainstorm, but thicker, and it was crossing east over the Rocky Mountains. It looked a little like insect swarms, except insects had never been seen at such high altitudes before. Farmers on the eastern slope of the Rockies described huge clouds of insects. They could hear them pinging off their steel roofs. The swarms were so dense they gummed up the windshield wipers on the farmers’ vehicles.
This was this first attack of the Mountain Pine Beetle east of the Rocky Mountains… the
year when the unthinkable actually happened: carried along by the prevailing winds,
trillions of Mountain Pine Beetles crossed the Rocky Mountains from BC into Alberta.
Now, the great Northern Boreal Forest, one of the world’s richest ecosystems and one of its greatest carbon sinks, was face to face with a grave threat – a plague of insects, each the size of a grain of rice.
Posted by Peter Sinclair on April 28, 2013Peter Jackson, a meteorologist in Prince George B.C., couldn’t believe what he... more
The systematic propaganda of the corporate media – its deep-rooted antipathy towards upholding proper journalistic standards in the public interest – extends to its coverage of human-induced climate change. The Independent recently delivered a masterpiece of headline obfuscation with: ‘World cools on global warming as green fatigue sets in.’The systematic propaganda of the corporate media – its deep-rooted antipathy... more
'Climate scientists struggle to explain warming slowdown,' said Reuters. But warming is speeding up, and scientists can explain it.
(much more at link)'Climate scientists struggle to explain warming slowdown,' said Reuters. But... more
The amount of ice melting on the Antarctic Peninsula has increased dramatically in recent decades.
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2013 13:20
For the first time, scientists have managed to demonstrate that ten times more ice melts in the summer months on the Antarctic Peninsula now than it did 600 years ago.
The Antarctic Peninsula is the biggest and most prominent peninsula in Antarctica. It consists of a rugged mountain chain, which rises more than 2000 m high.
Unlike the majority of the continent, the ice on the peninsula experiences a degree of melting every summer. Over recent decades the amount of ice which has melted has been increasing.
It has been known for some time that temperatures across the Antarctic Peninsula have risen dramatically. Over the past fifty years there has been an increase of 2.8C, making this the most rapidly warming region in the Southern Hemisphere. This is over five times the global average and comparable to rapidly warming regions of the Arctic.
At the same time, around 25,000 km2 of ice have been lost from ten floating ice shelves on the Antarctic Peninsula. This is particularly significant as it takes a long time to replenish snow and ice in this part of the world.
With under 250 mm of precipitation per year, Antarctica is officially classed as a desert. In fact, some parts of the continent haven’t seen any rain or snow for many years. Across the Antarctic Peninsula, the snow and ice simply melts and refreezes. Currently the ice that is lost to melting far exceeds that which is replenished in a year.
The latest research, a joint project by the Australian National University and the British Antarctic Survery, looks at a 364 m ice core, which was extracted from the northern tip of the peninsula. Visible layers of this tube of ice show where the ice melted, then refroze. By measuring the thickness of the layers and analysing the gases contained in the ice, researchers were able to determine the changes in temperatures in the region over the last 1,000 years.
The ice core demonstrated that the current level of melting was unprecedented in the last 1,000 years, and ten times more than it was 600 years ago.
The climate of Antarctica is hugely complex. Although there are record levels of glacier and ice melting, there also appears to be an increase in the sea ice in the surrounding waters.
Just seven months ago satellites captured images of more ice floating around the continent than at any other time in history.
The increase in sea ice is thought to be caused by the increased amounts of melting ice. This melted ice runs into the sea, but does not mix with the water already in the ocean. Instead the water forms a separate, colder, layer on the surface of the ocean. This can protect sea ice from coming into contact with the warmer seas below and therefore prevent it melting.
It is also thought that a change in wind direction could have increased the extent of sea ice. Winds can both physically moving the ice, and can cause the sea surface to warm or cool. The increase in sea ice is not uniform around the Antarctic coast line, therefore the winds are also likely to have had some effect.
With the complex climate of Antarctica, and the uncertainty of the future of the climate, it is difficult to predict what this latest study means for the continent.
It is believed that the continent will continue to warm rapidly, particularly in summer, increasing the vulnerability of the delicate ecosystem of the continent.
The global significance of this is difficult to assess. However, the warming of the Antarctic Peninsula is amongst the highest seen anywhere on Earth in recent times, and is a reminder of the rationality of climate change that can be expected in the future.The amount of ice melting on the Antarctic Peninsula has increased dramatically in... more
Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday, pushed Britain to the right during her 11 years as prime minister. A 1990 speech shows she also saw climate science as credible and global warming as a threat – anathema to today's right.
By Douglas Fischer | April 8, 2013
Margaret Thatcher, the "Iron Lady" of British politics who died Monday at the age of 87, is being lionized as the woman who tilted British domestic and economic policy to the right.
Less noted is how seriously she viewed the threat of climate change.
In a 1990 speech at the second World Climate Conference, in Geneva, Thatcher compared the threat of global warming to the Gulf War, which was then just escalating following Iraq's invasion of Kuwait.
Thatcher, who spent 11 years as the United Kingdom's prime minister, spent almost a quarter of her 2,500-word speech touting the importance of climate science and the UN body tasked with assessing that science. She called the work of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change "remarkable" and "very careful."
"The danger of global warning is as yet unseen, but real enough for us to make changes and sacrifices, so that we do not live at the expense of future generations," she told delegates, according to a transcript of the speech archived online at the Margaret Thatcher Foundation. A short video also survives.
"Our ability to come together to stop or limit damage to the world's environment will be perhaps the greatest test of how far we can act as a world community," she said. "We shall need statesmanship of a rare order."
Thatcher went on to highlight the work of several institutions that have been savaged in recent years by conservative radio, think-tanks and others denying that humans can influence the climate or that such influence can have negative consequences.
She touted the work of the UK's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction, the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., and the IPCC. All three continue to be plagued by the so-called "Climategate" e-mail controversy of 2009.
Science was clear
To Thatcher in 1990, at the end of her tenure at 10 Downing Street, the science was already clear.
"Our immediate task is to carry as many countries as possible with us, so that we can negotiate a successful framework convention on climate change in 1992," she said in that 1990 speech. "To accomplish these tasks, we must not waste time and energy disputing the IPCC's report or debating the right machinery for making progress."
That 1992 conference, the Rio Earth Summit, set the stage for a series of annual global meetings on climate change that 20 years later has yet to produce a meaningful accord limiting emissions.
Thatcher said little more about climate change after being ousted in November 1990, shortly after her climate address. The Guardian's environmental reporter, John Vidal, notes on a blog post that over the next 10 years global warming became highly politicized, and that Thatcher, in her 2002 memoir, rejected former Vice President Al Gore and his "doomist" predictions.Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday, pushed Britain to the right during her 11 years as... more
Apr. 3, 2013 — A huge pool of warm water that stretched out from Indonesia over to Africa and South America four million years ago suggests climate models might be too conservative in forecasting tropical changes.
Present in the Pliocene era, this giant mass of water would have dramatically altered rainfall in the tropics, possibly even removing the monsoon. Its decay and the consequential drying of East Africa may have been a factor in Hominid evolution.
Published in Nature today, the missing data for this phenomenon could have significant implications when predicting the future climate.
When analysing all the available sea surface temperature records spanning the past five million years, the international team -- with academics from UCL and Yale -- found that none of the currently proposed mechanisms can account for such conditions in the Pliocene, when tested using a climate model.
"Essentially, we've looked at a warm world in the past and it shows changes in the pattern of tropical sea surface temperatures. We've analysed all the existing theories to explain this vast pool of ancient warm water, and even in combination they can't explain something as odd as this," said Dr Chris Brierley (UCL Geography), a co-author of the paper.
Occurring between three and five million years ago, the Pliocene was the last time the world was in a steady climate that was warmer, and with a carbon dioxide level higher than the conditions that existed before the Industrial Revolution. As a result, it has attracted strong attention as a possible basis for future climate conditions once carbon dioxide levels have been stabilized.
The three critical conditions that defined the tropical Pliocene climate were:
Evidence of the maximum ocean temperature not being much warmer;
Reduced east-west temperate differences; and
Weaker north-south differences in the tropics.
It is these three conditions that the team say that any future efforts at modelling the past must explain.
"An important question is how much the evidence of climate evolution over the last five million years shapes our assessment of future change. From these observations, it is clear that the climate system is capable of remarkable transformations even with small changes in external parameters such as carbon dioxide," said Dr Brierley.
"Therefore, explaining the discrepancy between model simulations and the early Pliocene temperature patterns is essential for building confidence in our climate projections.
"In many ways, this work on past climates is part of understanding the uncertainty of future climate. It can give us a heads-up of potential climates that we hadn't imagined possible before." added Dr Brierley.Apr. 3, 2013 — A huge pool of warm water that stretched out from Indonesia over... more
New research from the Antarctic Peninsula shows that the summer melt season has been getting longer over the last 60 years. Increased summer melting has been linked to the rapid break-up of ice shelves in the area and rising sea level.
The Antarctic Peninsula - a mountainous region extending northwards towards South America - is warming much faster than the rest of Antarctica. Temperatures have risen by up to 3C since the 1950s - three times more than the global average.
This is a result of a strengthening of local westerly winds, causing warmer air from the sea to be pushed up and over the peninsula. In contrast to much of the rest of Antarctica, summer temperatures are high enough for snow to melt.
This summer melting may have important effects. Meltwater may enlarge cracks in floating ice shelves which can contribute to their retreat or collapse. As a result, the speed at which glaciers flow towards the sea will be increased. Also, melting and refreezing causes snow layers to become thinner and more dense, affecting the height of the snow surface above sea level. Scientists need to know this so they can interpret satellite data correctly.
Dr Nick Barrand, who carried out the research while working for the British Antarctic Survey, led an analysis of data from 30 weather stations on the peninsula. "We found a significant increase in the length of the melting season at most of the stations with the longest temperature records" he says. "At one station the average length of the melt season almost doubled between 1948 and 2011."
To build up a more complete picture across the whole peninsula, the team (funded by the European Union's ice2sea programme) also analysed satellite data collected by an instrument called a scatterometer. Using microwave reflections from the ice sheet surface, the scatterometer was able to detect the presence of meltwater.
The team were able to produce maps of how the melt season varied from 1999 to 2009, and showed that several major ice shelf breakup events coincided with longer than usual melt seasons. This supports the theory that enlargement of cracks by meltwater is the main mechanism for ice shelf weakening and collapse.
More at the linkNew research from the Antarctic Peninsula shows that the summer melt season has been... more
By Karl Ritter
Saturday March 30, 2013
STOCKHOLM -- Is it Easter or Christmas? Many Europeans would be forgiven for being confused by winter’s icy grip on lands that should be thawing in springtime temperatures by now.
Britain is on track for the coldest March since 1962, according to national weather service the Met Office, which also says daily low temperatures in London are going to remain below freezing through the Easter holiday. The mean temperature in Britain from March 1-26 was 2.5 C (36.5 F) -- three degrees below the long-term average.
In Berlin, Good Friday saw a new round of snowfall and temperatures just above freezing. The city’s popular lakeside beach opened for the season as planned, though it wasn’t exactly beach weather. Some visitors built a snowman and few ventured into the freezing water.
What’s going on?
As always when you talk about weather, natural variability is a big factor. But an increasing body of research suggests that cold spells like the one that has lingered in northern and central Europe for much of March could become more common as a result of global warming melting the Arctic ice cap.
Q: Why is it so cold in much of Europe right now?
A: Normally, European winters are kept relatively mild by wet, westerly winds from the Atlantic. But in March, the wind has been blowing mostly from the northeast, bringing freezing Arctic air down over much of Europe.
Q: So why are the winds coming from the northeast?
A: The winds are driven by atmospheric circulation patterns which in turn are affected by differences in air pressure between northern and southern latitudes. For much of March this circulation has been in a negative state, meaning the pressure difference is small. That weakens the westerly Atlantic winds and paves the way for cold air to sweep down over Europe from the Arctic and Siberia.
Q: What does that have to do with Arctic sea ice?
A: Global warming is melting the ice cap over the Arctic Ocean. Last September, it reached its lowest extent on record. Climate models show that the loss of sea ice -- which acts as a lid on the ocean, preventing it from giving off heat -- triggers feedback mechanisms that shake up the climate system further. A series of studies in recent years have shown that one such effect could be changes in atmospheric circulation, resulting in more frequent cold snaps in Europe.
Q: How would melting Arctic ice lead to cold snaps?
A: The theory is the loss of sea ice means more heat is released from the open ocean, warming the layer of polar air over the water. That reduces the temperature and air pressure differentials with more southern latitudes, increasing the likelihood of a negative state in the atmospheric circulation. Experts stress that winter weather is affected by many other factors, but several studies have shown the Arctic melt loads the dice in favor of colder and snowier winters in Europe. One study by scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany showed European cold snaps could become three times more likely because of shrinking sea ice.
Q: What’s the impact on the jet stream?
A: Some studies suggest that the shrinking sea ice also shifts the polar jet stream, a high-altitude air current that flows from west to east. Bigger waves in the meandering jet stream allow frigid air to spill southward from the Arctic, they say. Other climate experts are uncertain about this effect, saying more research is needed.
Nature 458, 1158-1162 (30 April 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature08017; Received 25 September 2008; Accepted 25 March 2009
Greenhouse-gas emission targets for limiting global warming to 2 °C
See associated Correspondence: Victor, Nature 459, 909 (June 2009)
Malte Meinshausen1, Nicolai Meinshausen2, William Hare1,3, Sarah C. B. Raper4, Katja Frieler1, Reto Knutti5, David J. Frame6,7 & Myles R. Allen7
1.Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Telegraphenberg, 14412 Potsdam, Germany
2.Department of Statistics, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3TG, UK
3.Climate Analytics, Telegraphenberg, 14412 Potsdam, Germany
4.Centre for Air Transport and the Environment, Manchester Metropolitan University, Chester Street, Manchester M1 5GD, UK
5.Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zurich, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
6.Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 2BQ, UK
7.Department of Physics, University of Oxford, Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PU, UK
Correspondence to: Malte Meinshausen1 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to M.M.
More than 100 countries have adopted a global warming limit of 2 °C or below (relative to pre-industrial levels) as a guiding principle for mitigation efforts to reduce climate change risks, impacts and damages1, 2. However, the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions corresponding to a specified maximum warming are poorly known owing to uncertainties in the carbon cycle and the climate response. Here we provide a comprehensive probabilistic analysis aimed at quantifying GHG emission budgets for the 2000–50 period that would limit warming throughout the twenty-first century to below 2 °C, based on a combination of published distributions of climate system properties and observational constraints. We show that, for the chosen class of emission scenarios, both cumulative emissions up to 2050 and emission levels in 2050 are robust indicators of the probability that twenty-first century warming will not exceed 2 °C relative to pre-industrial temperatures. Limiting cumulative CO2 emissions over 2000–50 to 1,000 Gt CO2 yields a 25% probability of warming exceeding 2 °C—and a limit of 1,440 Gt CO2 yields a 50% probability—given a representative estimate of the distribution of climate system properties. As known 2000–06 CO2 emissions3 were ~234 Gt CO2, less than half the proven economically recoverable oil, gas and coal reserves4, 5, 6 can still be emitted up to 2050 to achieve such a goal. Recent G8 Communiqués7 envisage halved global GHG emissions by 2050, for which we estimate a 12–45% probability of exceeding 2 °C—assuming 1990 as emission base year and a range of published climate sensitivity distributions. Emissions levels in 2020 are a less robust indicator, but for the scenarios considered, the probability of exceeding 2 °C rises to 53–87% if global GHG emissions are still more than 25% above 2000 levels in 2020.
It really is simple physics. We've pushed the climate system to the point where it is pushing back. If we were paying attention on the whole and were smarter about such things we would know to stop pushing so hard before it breaks. Judging from the early cracks in Arctic ice we've yet to get that message on the whole.
Planting trees is great and we are all for it. However, in concert with that we need laws and we need to keep the oil and tarsands IN THE GROUND as well as preserving what we already planted. An "all of the above" energy policy will also NOT bring us to the goal outlined in this peer reviewed paper.By Karl Ritter
Saturday March 30, 2013
STOCKHOLM -- Is it Easter or Christmas? Many... more
Predictions of rising temperatures due to human-induced climate change have proved accurate. Photograph: Graham Turner for the Guardian
Analysis of climate change modelling for past 15 years reveal accurate forecasts of rising global temperatures
Forecasts of global temperature rises over the past 15 years have proved remarkably accurate, new analysis of scientists' modelling of climate change shows.
The debate around the accuracy of climate modelling and forecasting has been especially intense recently, due to suggestions that forecasts have exaggerated the warming observed so far – and therefore also the level warming that can be expected in the future. But the new research casts serious doubts on these claims, and should give a boost to confidence in scientific predictions of climate change.
The paper, published on Wednesday in the journal Nature Geoscience, explores the performance of a climate forecast based on data up to 1996 by comparing it with the actual temperatures observed since. The results show that scientists accurately predicted the warming experienced in the past decade, relative to the decade to 1996, to within a few hundredths of a degree.
(read it all at link)Predictions of rising temperatures due to human-induced climate change have proved... more
"If you'll forgive me for stating the obvious: Most people don’t understand climate change very well. This includes a large proportion of the nation's politicians, journalists, and pundits — even the pundits who write about it. (I’m looking at you, Joe Nocera.)
"One reason for the widespread misunderstanding is that climate change has been culturally coded as an 'environmental problem.' This has been, in all sorts of ways, a disaster. Lots of pundits, especially brain-dead 'centrist' pundits, have simply transferred their framing and conception of environmental problems to climate. They approach it as just another air pollution problem.
"However, there are two features of climate change that make it importantly different from other environmental problems, not just in degree but in kind. And these differences have important public policy implications.""If you'll forgive me for stating the obvious: Most people don’t... more
1 month ago
Batten down the hatches, East Coasters: A new study argues that for every 1 degree C (1.8 degrees F) of global warming, the U.S. Atlantic seaboard could see up to seven times as many Katrina-sized hurricanes.
That’s the conclusion of Aslak Grinsted, a climatologist at Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute, who led an effort to match East Coast storm surge records from the last 90 years with global temperatures. His results, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggest that the strongest hurricanes are likely to become more commonplace with only half the level of warming currently projected by scientists.
Full article at link. When global warming starts costing more lives and money, maybe more people will give a sh!t. Then again maybe not.Batten down the hatches, East Coasters: A new study argues that for every 1 degree C... more
Similar analyses could be made for the oil sands that would be transported in TransCanada Corp.’s Keystone XL pipeline, and leases to drill for oil, gas and coal on federal lands, such as those for Arch Coal Inc. and Peabody Energy Corp.
By Mark Drajem - Mar 15, 2013 11:50 AM ET
President Barack Obama is preparing to tell all federal agencies for the first time that they should consider the impact on global warming before approving major projects, from pipelines to highways.
The result could be significant delays for natural gas- export facilities, ports for coal sales to Asia, and even new forest roads, industry lobbyists warn.
“It’s got us very freaked out,” said Ross Eisenberg, vice president of the National Association of Manufacturers, a Washington-based group that represents 11,000 companies such as Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) and Southern Co. (SO) The standards, which constitute guidance for agencies and not new regulations, are set to be issued in the coming weeks, according to lawyers briefed by administration officials.
In taking the step, Obama would be fulfilling a vow to act alone in the face of a Republican-run House of Representatives unwilling to pass measures limiting greenhouse gases. He’d expand the scope of a Nixon-era law that was first intended to force agencies to assess the effect of projects on air, water and soil pollution.
“If Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will,” Obama said last month during his State of the Union address. He pledged executive actions “to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.”
The president is scheduled to deliver a speech on energy today at the Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, Illinois. He is pressing Congress to create a $2 billion clean-energy research fund with fees paid by oil and gas producers.
While some U.S. agencies already take climate change into account when assessing projects, the new guidelines would apply across-the-board to all federal reviews. Industry lobbyists say they worry that projects could be tied up in lawsuits or administrative delays.
For example, Ambre Energy Ltd. is seeking a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers to build a coal-export facility at the Port of Morrow in Oregon. Under existing rules, officials weighing approval would consider whether ships in the port would foul the water or generate air pollution locally. The Environmental Protection Agency and activist groups say that review should be broadened to account for the greenhouse gases emitted when exported coal is burned in power plants in Asia.
Similar analyses could be made for the oil sands that would be transported in TransCanada Corp. (TRP)’s Keystone XL pipeline, and leases to drill for oil, gas and coal on federal lands, such as those for Arch Coal Inc. (ACI) and Peabody Energy Corp. (BTU)
If the new White House guidance is structured correctly, it will require just those kinds of lifecycle reviews, said Bill Snape, senior counsel at the Center for Biological Diversity in Washington. The environmental group has sued to press for this approach, and Snape says lawsuits along this line are certain if the administration approves the Keystone pipeline, which would transport oil from Canada’s tar sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast.
“The real danger is the delays,” said Eisenberg of the manufacturers’ group. “I don’t think the answer is ever going to be ‘no,’ but it can confound things.”
Lawyers and lobbyists are now waiting for the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality to issue the long bottled-up standards for how agencies should address climate change under the National Environmental Policy Act, signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1970.
NEPA requires federal agencies to consider and publish the environmental impact of their actions before making decisions. Those reviews don’t mandate a specific course of action. They do provide a chance for citizens and environmentalists to weigh in before regulators decide on an action -- and to challenge those reviews in court if it’s cleared.
“Each agency currently differs in how their NEPA reviews consider the climate change impacts of projects, as well as how climate change impacts such as extreme weather will affect projects,” Taryn Tuss, a Council on Environmental Quality spokeswoman, said in an e-mail. “CEQ is working to incorporate the public input we received on the draft guidance, and will release updated guidance when it is completed.”
The new standards will be “a major shakeup in how agencies conduct NEPA” reviews, said Brendan Cummings, senior counsel for the Center for Biological Diversity in San Francisco.
The White House is looking at requiring consideration of both the increase in greenhouse gases and a project’s vulnerability to flooding, drought or other extreme weather that might result from global warming, according to an initial proposal it issued in 2010. Those full reports would be required for projects with 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions or more per year, the equivalent of burning about 100 rail cars of coal.
The initial draft exempted federal land and resource decisions from the guidance, although CEQ said it was assessing how to handle those cases. Federal lands could be included in the final standards.
The White House guidance itself won’t force any projects to be stopped outright. Instead, it’s likely to prompt lawsuits against federal projects on these grounds, and increase the probability that courts will step in and order extensive reviews as part of the “adequate analysis” required in the law, said George Mannina, an attorney at Nossaman LLP in Washington.
Story continued at link aboveSimilar analyses could be made for the oil sands that would be transported in... more
New Science Study Confirms ‘Hockey Stick’: The Rate Of Warming Since 1900 Is 50 Times Greater Than The Rate Of Cooling In Previous 5000 Years.
A stable climate enabled the development of modern civilization, global agriculture, and a world that could sustain a vast population. Now, the most comprehensive “Reconstruction of Regional and Global Temperature for the Past 11,300 Years” ever done reveals just how stable the climate has been — and just how destabilizing manmade carbon pollution has been and will continue to be unless we dramatically reverse emissions trends.
Researchers at Oregon State University (OSU) and Harvard University published their findings today in the journal Science. Their funder, the National Science Foundation, explains in a news release:
With data from 73 ice and sediment core monitoring sites around the world, scientists have reconstructed Earth’s temperature history back to the end of the last Ice Age.
The analysis reveals that the planet today is warmer than it’s been during 70 to 80 percent of the last 11,300 years.
… during the last 5,000 years, the Earth on average cooled about 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit–until the last 100 years, when it warmed about 1.3 degrees F.
In short, thanks primarily to carbon pollution, the temperature is changing 50 times faster than it did during the time modern civilization and agriculture developed, a time when humans figured out where the climate conditions — and rivers and sea levels — were most suited for living and farming. We are headed for 7 to 11°F warming this century on our current emissions path — increasing the rate of change 5-fold yet again.
By the second half of this century we will have some 9 billion people, a large fraction of whom will be living in places that simply can’t sustain them — either because it is too hot and/or dry, the land is no longer arable, their glacially fed rivers have dried up, or the seas have risen too much.
We could keep that warming close to 4°F — and avoid the worst consequences — but only with immediate action.
This research vindicates the work of Michael Mann and others showing that recent warming is unprecedented in magnitude, speed, and cause during the past 2000 years — the so-called Hockey Stick — and in fact extends that back to at least 4000 years ago. I should say “vindicates for the umpteenth time” (see “Yet More Studies Back Hockey Stick“).
Lead author Shaun Marcott of OSU told NPR that the paleoclimate data reveal just how unprecedented our current warming is: “It’s really the rates of change here that’s amazing and atypical.” He noted to the AP, “Even in the ice age the global temperature never changed this quickly.”
http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/03/08/1691411/bombshell-recent-warming-is-amazing-and-atypical-and-poised-to-destroy-stable-climate-that-made-civilization-possible/New Science Study Confirms ‘Hockey Stick’: The Rate Of Warming Since 1900... more