tagged w/ Anthropogenic Climate Change
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
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
As each Arctic summer brings less sea ice, two new studies warn of major changes, from devastating storm surges to huge increases in shipping.
Rising temperatures in the Arctic — a result of global climate change — are bringing bigger and stronger storms, with hurricane-equivalent winds, previous research shows. And the region's dwindling sea ice cover (Sept. 2012 saw a record summer sea ice low, NASA reported) means storms can charge across the ocean without restraint.
Thick summer sea ice once slowed down Arctic storm winds, stopping them from generating high storm surges, the bulge of water that builds up ahead of a storm that can batter and flood a coastline.
One of the new studies tracked 400 years of storm surges in Canada's Mackenzie River delta, and found the wave-borne floods are becoming stronger and more frequent.
"I think it's another piece of the puzzle that suggests the Arctic is changing very rapidly and these changes are related to what’s going on with respect to climate change," said study co-author Michael Pisaric, a biogeographer at Brock's University in Ontario, Canada.
"Storms are growing larger and stronger, and there's so much more open water for these storms to blow across. These two [factors] combined are creating new conditions for the Arctic that when you put increasing infrastructure and exploration for hydrocarbons, that's starting to create a recipe for disaster," Pisaric told OurAmazingPlanet. Hydrocarbon exploration in the Arctic includes floating and fixed oil and gas wells. [8 Ways Global Warming Is Already Changing the World]
The findings were detailed online Jan. 25 in the journal Geophysical Research Letters.
More at the link
http://water-is-life.blogspot.com/2013/04/the-arctic-humanitys-barometer.html?spref=fbAs each Arctic summer brings less sea ice, two new studies warn of major changes, from... more
James E. Hansen of NASA, retiring this week, reflected in a window at his farm in Pennsylvania.
By Justin Gillis | April 1, 2013
Photo: Michael Nagle for The New York Times
James E. Hansen, the climate scientist who issued the clearest warning of the 20th century about the dangers of global warming, will retire from NASA this week, giving himself more freedom to pursue political and legal efforts to limit greenhouse gases.
His departure, after a 46-year career at the space agency’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, will deprive federally sponsored climate research of its best-known public figure.
At the same time, retirement will allow Dr. Hansen to press his cause in court. He plans to take a more active role in lawsuits challenging the federal and state governments over their failure to limit emissions, for instance, as well as in fighting the development in Canada of a particularly dirty form of oil extracted from tar sands.
“As a government employee, you can’t testify against the government,” he said in an interview.
Dr. Hansen had already become an activist in recent years, taking vacation time from NASA to appear at climate protests and allowing himself to be arrested or cited a half-dozen times.
But those activities, going well beyond the usual role of government scientists, had raised eyebrows at NASA headquarters in Washington. “It was becoming clear that there were people in NASA who would be much happier if the ‘sideshow’ would exit,” Dr. Hansen said in an e-mail.
At 72, he said, he feels a moral obligation to step up his activism in his remaining years.
“If we burn even a substantial fraction of the fossil fuels, we guarantee there’s going to be unstoppable changes” in the climate of the earth, he said. “We’re going to leave a situation for young people and future generations that they may have no way to deal with.”
His departure, on Wednesday, will end a career of nearly half a century working not just for a single agency but also in a single building, on the edge of the Columbia University campus.
From that perch, seven floors above the diner made famous by “Seinfeld,” Dr. Hansen battled the White House, testified dozens of times in Congress, commanded some of the world’s most powerful computers and pleaded with ordinary citizens to grasp the basics of a complex science.
His warnings and his scientific papers have drawn frequent attack from climate-change skeptics, to whom he gives no quarter. But Dr. Hansen is a maverick, just as likely to vex his allies in the environmental movement. He supports nuclear power and has taken stands that sometimes undercut their political strategy in Washington.
In the interview and in subsequent e-mails, Dr. Hansen made it clear that his new independence would allow him to take steps he could not have taken as a government employee. He plans to lobby European leaders — who are among the most concerned about climate change — to impose a tax on oil derived from tar sands. Its extraction results in greater greenhouse emissions than conventional oil.
Dr. Hansen’s activism of recent years dismayed some of his scientific colleagues, who felt that it backfired by allowing climate skeptics to question his objectivity. But others expressed admiration for his willingness to risk his career for his convictions.
Initially, Dr. Hansen plans to work out of a converted barn on his farm in Pennsylvania. He has not ruled out setting up a small institute or taking an academic appointment.
He said he would continue publishing scientific papers, but he will no longer command the computer time and other NASA resources that allowed him to track the earth’s rising temperatures and forecast the long-run implications.
Dr. Hansen, raised in small-town Iowa, began his career studying Venus, not the earth. But as concern arose in the 1970s about the effects of human emissions of greenhouse gases, he switched gears, publishing pioneering scientific papers.
His initial estimate of the earth’s sensitivity to greenhouse gases was somewhat on the high side, later work showed. But he was among the first scientists to identify the many ways the planet is likely to respond to rising temperatures and to show how those effects would reinforce one another to produce immense changes in the climate and environment, including a sea level rise that could ultimately flood many of the world’s major cities.
“He’s done the most important science on the most important question that there ever was,” said Bill McKibben, a climate activist who has worked closely with Dr. Hansen.
Around the time Dr. Hansen switched his research focus, in the 1970s, a sharp rise in global temperatures began. He labored in obscurity over the next decade, but on a blistering June day in 1988 he was called before a Congressional committee and testified that human-induced global warming had begun.
Speaking to reporters afterward in his flat Midwestern accent, he uttered a sentence that would appear in news reports across the land: “It is time to stop waffling so much and say that the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here.”
Given the natural variability of climate, it was a bold claim to make after only a decade of rising temperatures, and to this day some of his colleagues do not think he had the evidence.
Yet subsequent events bore him out. Since the day he spoke, not a single month’s temperatures have fallen below the 20th-century average for that month. Half the world’s population is now too young to have lived through the last colder-than-average month, February 1985.
In worldwide temperature records going back to 1880, the 19 hottest years have all occurred since his testimony.
Again and again, Dr. Hansen made predictions that were ahead of the rest of the scientific community and, arguably, a bit ahead of the evidence.
“Jim has a real track record of being right before you can actually prove he’s right with statistics,” said Raymond T. Pierrehumbert, a planetary scientist at the University of Chicago.
Continued at linkJames E. Hansen of NASA, retiring this week, reflected in a window at his farm in... 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
The eruption almost three years ago of an Icelandic volcano added iron to the seas south of the island. But in a blow to supporters of geo-engineering, the natural fertilizer failed to dent carbon dioxide levels.
By Alex Kirby
Climate News Network
March 21, 2013
LONDON – Plankton, tiny marine organisms, are a good way of cleansing the atmosphere of one of the main greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide. To do this they need dissolved iron to help them to grow, and if they lack iron then they cannot do much to reduce CO2 levels.
So the eruption in 2010 of an Icelandic volcano gave scientists a perfect opportunity to see how much the cataclysm helped the plankton by showering them with unexpected clouds of iron.
Their verdict, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters – the volcano certainly helped, but not for long enough to make much difference.
This is a blow to some supporters of geo-engineering, who have suggested that one way to tackle climate change is large-scale seeding of the oceans with iron to stimulate plankton to absorb more carbon dioxide.
The volcano's impact was assessed by a team led by scientists from the UK's National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, who were on a shipboard research expedition in the area at the time.
Air travel to a standstill
The April 2010 eruption of the volcano Eyjafjallajökull hurled clouds of ash several kilometers into the atmosphere, bringing air travel to a standstill across Europe and, in a less noticeable effect, seeding the seas south of Iceland with ash.
In many parts of the ocean the productivity of phytoplankton – microscopic plants at the base of the marine food chain – is limited by the availability of dissolved iron.
In 2007 the team had shown that, after a large spring bloom, phytoplankton in the Iceland Basin failed to grow much because it lacked iron. The scientists wanted to see whether the ash from Eyjafjallajökull supplied enough iron to sustain the spring blooms for longer than usual.
The team found that the five-week eruption supplied enough dissolved iron to increase the number of phytoplankton cells within a region of the North Atlantic stretching across 570,000 square kilometers – or 220,000 square miles, about the size of France.
But the effect was short-lived as the extra iron resulted in the rapid removal of biological nitrate, depriving the phytoplankton of nitrogen they also needed.
The team – from Southampton, the University of Cape Town and the Norwegian Institute for Air Research – conducted three research voyages in 2010 investigating ocean productivity in the area affected by ash from Eyjafjallajökull.
They took samples of ash and dust in the atmosphere, and of nutrients in the ocean, and also measured the activity of the phytoplankton.
The north Atlantic Ocean is globally important, as it is a sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide, said Eric Achterberg, chief scientist for the research cruise and lead author of the study.
"A limit to the availability of iron in this region means that the ocean is less efficient in its uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide," he said.
"The additional removal of carbon by the ash-stimulated phytoplankton was therefore only 15 percent to 20 percent higher than in other years, making for a significant but short-lived change to the biogeochemistry of the Iceland Basin."The eruption almost three years ago of an Icelandic volcano added iron to the seas... more
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
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
If you like cool weather and not having to club your neighbors as you battle for scarce resources, now’s the time to move to Canada, because the story of the 21st century is almost written, reports Reuters. Global warming is close to being irreversible, and in some cases that ship has already sailed.
Scientists have been saying for a while that we have until between 2015 and 2020 to start radically reducing our carbon emissions, and what do you know: That deadline’s almost past! Crazy how these things sneak up on you while you’re squabbling about whether global warming is a religion. Also, our science got better in the meantime, so now we know that no matter what we do, we can say adios to the planet’s ice caps.
For ice sheets — huge refrigerators that slow down the warming of the planet — the tipping point has probably already been passed, Steffen said. The West Antarctic ice sheet has shrunk over the last decade and the Greenland ice sheet has lost around 200 cubic km (48 cubic miles) a year since the 1990s.
Here’s what happens next: Natural climate feedbacks will take over and, on top of our prodigious human-caused carbon emissions, send us over an irreversible tipping point. By 2100, the planet will be hotter than it’s been since the time of the dinosaurs, and everyone who lives in red states will pretty much get the apocalypse they’ve been hoping for. The subtropics will expand northward, the bottom half of the U.S. will turn into an inhospitable desert, and everyone who lives there will be drinking recycled pee and struggling to salvage something from an economy wrecked by the destruction of agriculture, industry, and electrical power production.
Water shortages, rapidly rising seas, superstorms swamping hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of infrastructure: It’s all a-coming, and anyone who is aware of the political realities knows that the odds are slim that our government will move in time to do anything to avert the biggest and most avoidable disaster short of all-out nuclear war.
Even if our government did act, we can’t control the emissions of the developing world. China is now the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases on the planet and its inherently unstable autocratic political system demands growth at all costs. That means coal.
Meanwhile, engineers and petroleum geologists are hoping to solve the energy crisis by harvesting and burning the nearly limitless supplies of natural gas frozen in methane hydrates at the bottom of the ocean, a source of atmospheric carbon previously considered so exotic that it didn’t even enter into existing climate models.
So, welcome to the 21st century. Hope you packed your survival instinct.If you like cool weather and not having to club your neighbors as you battle for... more
The National Research Council is pleased to present this video that explains how scientists have arrived at the state of knowledge about current climate change and its causes.
More at the link
The truth is incontrovertible. Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is."
Winston ChurchillThe National Research Council is pleased to present this video that explains how... more
Melting glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland may push up global sea levels more than 3 feet by the end of this century, according to a scientific poll of experts that brings a degree of clarity to a murky and controversial slice of climate science.
Such a rise in the seas would displace millions of people from low-lying countries such as Bangladesh, swamp atolls in the Pacific Ocean, cause dikes in Holland to fail, and cost coastal mega-cities from New York to Tokyo billions of dollars for construction of sea walls and other infrastructure to combat the tides.
“The consequences are horrible,” Jonathan Bamber, a glaciologist at the University of Bristol and a co-author of the study published Jan. 6 in the journal Nature Climate Change, told NBC News. …
Full article at link. Check out the comments on the grist site, we aren't the only ones with troll problems.....Melting glaciers in Antarctica and Greenland may push up global sea levels more than 3... more
There are two questions that arise at the end of every year. The first is: Did I fulfill all of my resolutions this year? And the answer to that is always no, unless you are lying to yourself. The second is: Will we have a white Christmas? And, pretty soon, that one’s going to always be no, as well. Unless you move to, say, Canada.
This year is one of the bubble years, a year in which a white Christmas is still possible. Yes, it’s warmer than usual — in fact, it’s the warmest year in American history — but the worst long-term effects of warming haven’t yet made December snowfall an improbability. So let’s ask the question.There are two questions that arise at the end of every year. The first is: Did I... more
A new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers finds humanity has its foot on the accelerator as we head toward a cliff. The only hope is very rapid deployment of carbon-free technology starting ASAP.
The title of the PWC report is sobering, “Too late for two degrees?” So is its main conclusion:
Our Low Carbon Economy Index evaluates the rate of decarbonisation of the global economy that is needed to limit warming to 2oC. This report shows that global carbon intensity decreased between 2000 and 2011 by around 0.8% a year. In 2011, carbon intensity decreased by 0.7%. The global economy now needs to cut carbon intensity by 5.1% every year from now to 2050. Keeping to the 2oC carbon budget will require sustained and unprecedented reductions over four decades.
Governments’ ambitions to limit warming to 2oC appear highly unrealistic.
Here are two more conclusions that can kill — or maybe cause — a hangover:
We have passed a critical threshold – not once since 1950 has the world achieved that rate of decarbonisation in a single year, but the task now confronting us is to achieve it for 39 consecutive years….
Even to have a reasonable prospect of getting to a 4°C scenario would imply nearly quadrupling the current rate of decarbonisation.
Despite the many hand-wavers who assert the optimal climate strategy is more research and development, this is yet another independent analysis that makes crystal clear such a do-little approach would be suicidal (see “Study Confirms Optimal Climate Strategy: Deploy, Deploy, Deploy, R&D, Deploy, Deploy, Deploy“).
It bears repeating that warming of 7°F or beyond is “incompatible with organized global community, is likely to be beyond ‘adaptation’, is devastating to the majority of ecosystems & has a high probability of not being stable (i.e. 4°C [7°F] would be an interim temperature on the way to a much higher equilibrium level,” as climate expert Kevin Anderson explains here. Tragically, that appears to be the likely outcome of business as usual.
No wonder the report states bluntly:
The only way to avoid the pessimistic scenarios will be radical transformations in the ways the global economy currently functions: rapid uptake of renewable energy, sharp falls in fossil fuel use or massive deployment of CCS, removal of industrial emissions and halting deforestation. This suggests a need for much more ambition and urgency on climate policy, at both the national and international level.
Either way, business-as-usual is not an option.
Leo Johnson, PWC’s Partner for Sustainability and Climate Change, rather dryly concludes his letter introducing the report:
Business leaders have been asking for clarity in political ambition on climate change. Now one thing is clear: businesses, governments and communities across the world need to plan for a warming world – not just 2ºC, but 4ºC and, at our current rates, 6ºC.
Of course, planning for 4°C [7°F] in 2100 — let alone 6°C [11°F] — is tantamount to planning for the end of civilization as we know it (see this review of more than 60 recent studies — “An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts: How We Know Inaction Is the Gravest Threat Humanity Faces“).
Such a world would likely mean:
•Permanent Dust Bowl conditions over the U.S. Southwest, parts of the Great Plains and many other regions around the globe that are heavily populated and/or heavily farmed.
•Sea level rise of some 1 foot by 2050, then 4 to 6 feet (or more) by 2100, rising some 6 to 12 inches (or more) each decade thereafter
•Massive species loss on land and sea — perhaps 50% or more of all biodiversity.
•Much more extreme weather
These will all be happening simultaneously and getting worse decade after decade. A 2009 NOAA-led study found the worst impacts would be “largely irreversible for 1000 years.”
In such a world there would be little prospect for feeding 9 billion people post-2050 given current dietary, economic, and agricultural practices. The word “adaptation” simply doesn’t apply in any meaningful sense:
more at the linkA new report by PricewaterhouseCoopers finds humanity has its foot on the accelerator... more
By Jo Piazza / current.com / @jopiazza
The next 72 hours will continue to be wall-to-wall media coverage of Hurricane Sandy.
President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney have and will to continue to offer their concerns and condolences for those East Coasters affected by the storm.
But will anyone — the media or the candidates — talk about the real climate issues that may have contributed to Sandy and will likely contribute to similar storms going forward?
“It is fairly predictable that most of the media will focus on the near-term impact of the storm, but I think the media generally has been fairly poor at explaining the climate connections in a lot of these stories,” Joe Romm, the editor of Climate Progress, told Current.
What does former FEMA chief Mike “Brownie” Brownthink about the Obama administration's response to Sandy? Find out on “The War Room,” tonight at 9E/6P.
By Jo Piazza / current.com / @jopiazza
The next 72 hours will continue to be... more
Perhaps you thought that the whole “planet isn’t warming” meme was killed by this summer’s bombshell Koch-funded study. After all, it found ”global warming is real,” “on the high end” and “essentially all” due to carbon pollution.
Sadly, denial springs eternal. Long-debunked denier David Rose has an article in the Daily Mail, “Global warming stopped 16 years ago, reveals Met Office report quietly released … and here is the chart to prove it.”
The piece is so misleading, even the UK Met Office felt a need to instantly debunk it with a blog post that included this chart.
UK Met Office graph showing years ranked in order of global temperature.
Since Rose managed to find one misleading chart to push his myth, I thought I would dig up ten serious ones that show the reverse, including the top chart from Skeptical Science, the great Australian blog, which is derived from the data in the Koch-funded study.
Note: “Skeptics” is an Aussie word for denier or disinformer. The British have their own words — Rose or Mail:
•David Rose destroys his credibility and the Daily Mail’s with error-riddled climate science reporting
•Daily Mail Slammed for Ignoring Scientific Truth We’re Still Warming and Human Emissions Will Dwarf Any Solar Changes
So one has to assume going in that any climate piece in the Mail with Rose’s name on it is somewhere between misinformation and disinformation. The latest piece tends toward the latter. Heck, even Judith Curry complains she was misquoted, as Media Matters notes.
The Met Office, part of the UK Defence Ministry, explained, it’s absurd to look at a cherry-picked “trend from August 1997 (in the middle of an exceptionally strong El Nino) to August 2012 (coming at the tail end of a double-dip La Nina)”:
As we’ve stressed before, choosing a starting or end point on short-term scales can be very misleading. Climate change can only be detected from multi-decadal timescales due to the inherent variability in the climate system. If you use a longer period from HadCRUT4 the trend looks very different. For example, 1979 to 2011 shows 0.16°C/decade (or 0.15°C/decade in the NCDC dataset, 0.16°C/decade in GISS). Looking at successive decades over this period, each decade was warmer than the previous – so the 1990s were warmer than the 1980s, and the 2000s were warmer than both. Eight of the top ten warmest years have occurred in the last decade.
Over the last 140 years global surface temperatures have risen by about 0.8ºC. However, within this record there have been several periods lasting a decade or more during which temperatures have risen very slowly or cooled. The current period of reduced warming is not unprecedented and 15 year long periods are not unusual.
The warming trend is clear in a chart from an earlier Met Office post “Noughties confirmed as the warmest decade on record“:
More at the linkPerhaps you thought that the whole “planet isn’t warming” meme was... more
Could cities like Chicago experience another "Snowpocalypse" due to Global Warming? We will see in a few months....
Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, said less sea ice in the Artic translates to more moisture in the atmosphere, and could also cause an atmospheric circulation pattern in polar regions known as Arctic Oscillation. "It's still cutting-edge research and there's no smoking gun, but there's evidence that with less sea ice, you put a lot of heat from the ocean into the atmosphere, and the circulation of the atmosphere responds to that," Serreze said.
"Heavy snowstorms are not inconsistent with a warming planet," said scientist Jeff Masters, as part of a conference call with reporters and colleagues convened by the Union of Concern Scientists. "In fact, as the Earth gets warmer and more moisture gets absorbed into the atmosphere, we are steadily loading the dice in favor of more extreme storms in all seasons, capable of causing greater impacts on society." Masters said that the northeastern United States has been coated in heavy snowfall from major Category Three storms or larger three times in each of the past two winters, storms that are unparalleled since the winter of 1960-61. "If the climate continues to warm, we should expect an increase in heavy snow events for a few decades, until the climate grows so warm that we pass the point where it's too warm for it to snow heavily."Could cities like Chicago experience another "Snowpocalypse" due to Global... 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
The globe we live on is changing in ways that the human species has not experienced. Global temperatures have risen 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit in the past century and the emissions that are driving that increase further are continuing to increase to a point where positive feedback loops leading to a tipping point are now occurring. This is and will have consequences regarding the human species' ability to grow food, maintain biodiversity, preserve water sources and stave off diseases. And though there are interests that would have people believe this is either not happening, not pushed by man or made up to institute some worldwide tax slave state the reality and the facts behind climate science reveal that to be rhetoric contrived by a network of politically and ideologically slanted think tanks that deal in propaganda and misinformation in order to support their profit driven benefactors.
Since the 1930s scientists had begun questioning whether man's behavior and habits on this Earth post Industrial Revolution had amplified the natural carbon cycle and atmospheric composition of our planet. Thousands of studies and peer reviewed papers have been published with over 98% of climate scientists publishing stating and agreeing that humans are indeed changing the face of the Earth and pushing the natural processes that we have come to rely on for centuries to a place beyond their natural ability to sustain us. We do not live in a linear system and are now seeing clearly globally that pushing the natural variables of climate are now causing those systems to push back.
The question we should now be asking ourselves is just what are we prepared to do to deal with the changes taking place... The changes we have precipitated by continuing to remain closed off from reality listening only to those voices telling us everything is OK in order to preserve the status quo that benefits the few at the expense of the many. It surely may be hard to accept that man has such an influence on this planet, but ever since man began changing the face of Earth thousands of years ago through agriculture and deforestation we have been setting the scene for the future.
Climate had remained basically stable up to that point with interglacial and glacial periods happening on a time scale of thousands of years. What we are seeing now is a pace and severity of change faster than ever before due to the time lapse feedbacks of the concentration of greenhouse gases put up into the atmosphere by humans from this past century and even before that have pushed those natural cycles. Continuing this same behavior only increases exponentially the chances of our world being an even more unstable place for our children.
I say this because I love this planet and I care about its future: This is real and it is affecting places globally now with rapid melting of glaciers particularly in the Arctic where warming has been twice as fast as anywhere on the globe. Places worldwide are now seeing changes in weather patterns that due to this melting and other factors and forces on the atmosphere are jeopardizing their ability to farm, to maintain adequate and healthy water sources and to maintain health due to extreme drought, deluges and storms that are becoming more common and damaging. We can no longer afford to treat this as some distant event we do not have to worry about. It is a present danger to our way of life precipitated by us and the only way to address it is to look in the mirror.
And I have been doing that for a very long time. Since I was a young child the environment has been my life. I read Silent Spring (which is fifty years old this year) with my mom on our front porch swing and it changed my life and hers. Little did I know that in five years’ time after reading it she would leave me because cancer would take her at such a young age. Losing her, the sweetest woman I could ever know who was also my friend and my inspiration as well only intensified my focus on seeing a world where my child would not lose their mother at such a young age.
At that time pollution of our air and water had reached a crisis point. Only because of the endless work of people on all sides of the political aisle spurred by Rachel Carson's brilliant and relevant treatise on the state of humanity did the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and EPA come to fruition. I even wrote to then President Nixon to tell him of my concerns. I was surprised at the letter he sent me back. This man who bombed Cambodia sent me a letter written by a lemon farmer whose love of the environment was a true dichotomy to his presidential evils. It was surely an enigma to me how two such actions could diverge in one person. Nevertheless, we were making progress on an environment we had taken for granted in our zeal to see "progress." So from the time of my mother's death I then made a pledge that I would do what I could with my small voice, my pen and my passion to not see that progress slip away.
As a young woman I was involved in writing about the environment and participating in local initiatives. Then in the early nineties I came across a book called Earth In The Balance written by Senator Al Gore. That book like Silent Spring inspired and motivated me. Since then I have followed Mr. Gore's endeavors identifying with the passion he exuded on the pages he wrote because I know he felt the same as I do- that this Earth out of all the things we lose in this life that we love that we have no control over was something we could never let slip out of our grasp because we do have the ability to control it. After having my son in the early nineties I then knew even more how important this was.
This month I will be going to San Francisco after being selected by former Vice President Al Gore and The Climate Reality Project to meet with him and other experts on the truth of this crisis and to bring that truth back to share with others.
So, I am going there to honor the memory of my mother. I am going there because I love this Earth with all of my heart. I am going there because I love my son. I am going there because I made a pledge. And I am going there because the man who chairs this project is a man I have respected and loved for many years because he gets it. Because he sees what is truly at stake. Because the Reality of knowing that the progress we once attained is once again slipping away is morally reprehensible and as a citizen of this world and a woman who loves my child, to stand aside and let it happen is simply not an option.
We need to begin to pull together across partisan lines to call out political leaders to do what is right for our planet and us. Renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, reforestation and a new awareness and perception of our only home are imperative steps we now need to take in order to not have our children and grandchildren one day look at us and ask, ‘why didn’t you care when it mattered most?’ Please, those who read this, look beyond the political walls, ideological barriers and human frailties that in the past have inhibited us as a species from achieving our true potential. The current world situation is of our making and the good news of it all is that we do still have time to change it. Our children and theirs will remember our actions and choices made now. How do you wish to be remembered?The globe we live on is changing in ways that the human species has not experienced.... more