tagged w/ Sea Level Rise
View profile SATIRE WINS 5/4!: "Supreme Courting! Pun Intended, Absurdity Today with Julianna ForlanoThe Supreme Court rulings, a ban on swearing AND perhaps, the dirtiest joke we've ever alluded to: all in this week's progressive political news parody, Absurdity Today, hosted by Julianna Forlano
Alternative title for this week's episode:
"Mexico: Its not just the water that will make you crap your pants."
Enjoy!The Supreme Court rulings, a ban on swearing AND perhaps, the dirtiest joke we've... more
The ancient reserves of methane gas seeping from the melting Arctic ice cap told Jeff Chanton and fellow researchers what they already knew: As the permafrost thaws, there is a release of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that causes climate warming.
The trick was figuring out how much, said Chanton, the John W. Winchester Professor of Oceanography at Florida State University.
The four-member team -- whose findings were published in the journal Nature Geoscience -- documented a large number of gas seep sites in the Arctic where permafrost is thawing and glaciers receding (they found 77 previously undocumented seep sites, comprising 150,000 vents to the atmosphere). Until recently, the cryosphere (frozen soil and ice) has served to plug or block these vents. But thawing conditions have allowed the conduits to open, and deep geologic methane now escapes.
The team studied the link between natural gas seepage and the melting ice cap, using aerial photos and field data to figure out the number -- and location -- of seep holes.
So, here's the rub: The more the ice cap melts, the more methane is released into the atmosphere -- and the more the climate warms.
Why should this matter to you?
People who live in coastal areas could be directly affected, said Chanton, who analyzed the methane and dated it to more than 40,000 years old.
All this seeping methane causes more melting ice, Chanton said, which causes sea levels to rise and could affect coastal real estate values -- sooner rather than later.
Possibly over the next 50 to 100 years, Chanton said.
"Methane is a very strong greenhouse gas that's grown three times faster than carbon dioxide since the industrial era," Chanton said. "As the Arctic warms, the ice caps melt and the fissures open, so methane escapes and causes more warming."
This phenomenon causes sea levels to rise, which is particularly problematic in Florida: "Along the flat Florida coastline, a 1-foot rise in sea level could cause anywhere from 10 to 100 feet of shoreline retreat -- erosion," Chanton said. "For us here in Florida, this is really important because we can expect the coast to recede."
That beach house, he warned, might be in peril: "It may not be there for your grandchildren."The ancient reserves of methane gas seeping from the melting Arctic ice cap told Jeff... more
As a coastal scientist with considerable experience in subjects of erosion and sea-level rise, as well as a love for the N.C. coast, I am troubled with the distortions and denial of scientific understanding about climate change impacts from the NC-20 group and others attempting to influence legislation being proposed.
The proposed legislation is not based on sound science and is not in the best interest of North Carolina's residents. NC-20 seems to deny the science presented in the report and even ascribes political and self-serving motives to the volunteer members. I find their statements to be unfounded. Further, the NC-20 does not appear qualified to provide peer review of the 2010 Report, nor any more qualified than the appointed Science Panel.
I have some experience with this topic. Back in 2007, I was invited, as a coastal scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, to give a talk at a N.C. State Legislative Commission on Global Climate Change workshop. The topic I was asked to speak on was sea-level rise. The talk was well received, and I came away with the opinion that North Carolina was a leader among states in getting a grasp on climate change, impacts like sea-level rise, and how best to adapt to the changes coming. I have had no involvement in the report process since my talk in Raleigh five years ago.
The panel members are highly qualified based on training and experience and the report is a high quality summary and assessment of the latest scientific understanding. Further, the findings and recommendations for North Carolina are well-founded based on observations, data, and reliable and credible model results.
And the findings in the 2010 Sea Level Rise Report are not extreme. The U.S. Global Change Research Program, NOAA, USGS, National Park Service, Department of Defense and many coastal states (e.g., Florida, California, Massachusetts, Louisiana) are addressing climate impacts and the 2010 Report conforms with the best of similar sea-level rise assessments. Skepticism in science is important, but for NC-20 and others to deny the reality of climate change and its impacts and to dismiss the solid results in the 2010 Sea Level Rise Report does not serve North Carolina well.
If concerns are the economic and social adjustments needed over time to deal with sea-level rise, more frequent tidal flooding, such concerns are understandable; however, those concerns should be presented openly and honestly for consideration. And constructive recommendations might come from critics on how North Carolina should start to address coastal change.
Attacking the messengers of troubling news is not productive. By now, we should no longer be denying the settled scientific facts that Earth is warming due to the buildup in carbon dioxide "greenhouse gases," and that for North Carolina this will very likely mean significantly more sea-level rise this century than in the past; increased tidal flood frequency; and increased erosion, barrier island breaching, shoreline retreat and loss of tidal wetlands.
A dynamic global climate has long been part of Earth's natural cycle; however, human activities have dramatically increased global warming, causing a variety of well-documented and pervasive environmental changes. Among the most significant of these changes is sea-level rise, which, in concert with storms, is a main driver of coastal erosion and shoreline retreat. Globally, sea level has risen at a rate of about 0.08 inches per year (2 mm/year) over the past century.
Rise in North Carolina relative to the land has been about the same as the global rate for the region south of Cape Hatteras; however, the rise rate is nearly double the global rate at about 0.16 inches/year (4.3 mm/year) for the region north of Cape Hatteras. This is due to regional land subsidence and shifts in ocean circulation. Global average rates of rise, however, have increased significantly since the early 1990s, due likely to global warming effects. And sea level is projected, using computer models, to rise in the range of 1.5 to 6 feet (0.5-2 meters) in decades ahead.
By S. Jeffress Williams
For StarNews Media
More at the linkAs a coastal scientist with considerable experience in subjects of erosion and... more
this will make your day...
An inaugural interactive workshop discussing historic and future sea level trends and their implications for Virginia’s Eastern Shore is planned for June.
“We’ve got the highest rate of sea level rise on the East Coast,” said Skip Stiles, executive director, Wetlands Watch, who will be making a presentation on the historic, current and future sea level changes and potential impact on the Eastern Shore.
Stiles said some of the evidence of sea level rise visible to people who spend time around the water include seeing wetlands disappear, ditches going tidal, backyard vegetation changes, and “ghost forests” — full grown trees that are dead along the shore because the water is “moving in underneath them.”
The Coastal Flooding Workshop will take place on June 13 from 6 - 8:30 p.m. at Shore Bank Headquarters, 25020 Shore Parkway in Onley.
The Eastern Shore Climate Adaptation Working Group consisting of representatives of local government staff, state and federal agencies, and private groups involved in coastal management is hosting the workshop as part of its efforts to assist the Eastern Shore in preparing for a changing climate, which includes sea level rise.
Curt Smith, director of planning, Accomack-Northampton Planning District Commission, said the group’s activities also include involvement in acquiring the new high-resolution LiDAR elevation data; developing “a rollout campaign” to educate the public and elected officials about the LiDAR data and how it benefits the Shore; and “partnering with the NOAA Coastal Services Center who is using the LiDAR data to produce a series of models that will accurately simulate flooding and impacts to the built and natural environment on the Shore.”
“I think that is going to be very helpful for their planning,” said Smith, about information from the June 13 workshop, saying he hopes to present information to the Accomack and Northampton County Boards of Supervisors and towns about the presentations and the responses they receive from the residents who will be able to actively participate through written surveys and electronic polls in the workshop about what they may be experiencing concerning sea level changes.
More at the linkAn inaugural interactive workshop discussing historic and future sea level trends and... more
Little by little, Hawaii’s iconic beaches are disappearing.
Most beaches on the state’s three largest islands are eroding, and the erosion is likely to accelerate as sea levels rise, the United States Geological Survey is reporting.
Though average erosion rates are relatively low — perhaps a few inches per year — they range up to several feet per year and are highly variable from island to island and within each island, agency scientists say. The report says that over the last century, about 9 percent of the sandy coast on the islands of Hawaii, Oahu and Maui has vanished. That’s almost 14 miles of beach.
The findings have important implications for public safety, the state’s multibillion-dollar tourism economy and the way of life Hawaiians treasure, said Charles H. Fletcher, who led the work for the agency.
“This is a serious problem,” said Dr. Fletcher, a geologist at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.
Sea level does not rise uniformly around the world, and so far, Dr. Fletcher and other geologists said in interviews, Hawaii has escaped some of the rise that has occurred elsewhere as earth’s climate warms. But that situation is unlikely to continue, the report says.
Hawaii’s geological history also leaves it unusually vulnerable. The islands formed, one by one, as a tectonic plate carrying them moved to the northwest over a “hot spot,” where a plume of molten lava pushes through the seafloor. Over the millenniums, this material cools, accumulates and eventually rises above the waves. (Loihi, an underwater — for now — mountain southeast of the island of Hawaii, is the latest to undergo this process.)
But once the slow plate movement carries an island away from the hot spot, its volcanic material begins to compress, causing the island to start to sink, worsening its erosion prospects.
The new analysis, “National Assessment of Shoreline Change: Historical Shoreline Change in the Hawaiian Islands,” is the latest in a series of reports the geological survey has produced for the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, California and some of Alaska. Over all, their findings are similar: “They all show net erosion to varying degrees,” said Asbury H. Sallenger Jr., a coastal scientist for the agency who leads the work.
He said the studies aimed to establish a baseline from which scientists could “really assess what sea level rise actually does in the future to our coasts.”
S. Jeffress Williams, another scientist with the agency, said researchers had over the years produced a number of studies of Hawaii’s shorelines, using various methods of data collection and analysis. “Many were well done, but it is sort of mixing apples and oranges,” he said, referring to the need to adopt standard study methods. The new work aims to allow researchers to compare data from states around the country.
And though it seems self-evident that erosion must be tied to rising seas, “you have to document it,” Mr. Williams said. “Sea level rise is only one of the driving forces that control what happens at the shoreline.” For example, he said, on a beach that receives a steady influx of sand, “you can have marginal erosion or stable or even accreting shorelines.”
But that is not ordinarily the case in Hawaii, where the typical response to erosion has been to protect buildings with sea walls and other coastal armor. “It’s the default management tool,” Dr. Fletcher said. But in Hawaii, as nearly everywhere else this kind of armor has been tried, it results in the degradation or even loss of the beach, as rising water eventually meets the wall, drowning the beach.
He suggested planners in Hawaii look to American Samoa, where, he said, “it’s hard to find a single beach. It has been one sea wall after another.”
But the most common alternative approach, replenishing beaches with pumped-in sand, is difficult in Hawaii, where good-quality sand can cost 10 times as much as it does on the East Coast, Mr. Williams said.
Dr. Fletcher said he believes the answer lies in encouraging people to move buildings and other infrastructure away from the shoreline, a strategy coastal scientists call retreat. “If we want beaches we have to retreat from the ocean,” he said. But, he added. “It’s easy to say retreat; it’s much harder to implement it.”
Dr. Sallenger said he hoped the work in Hawaii and elsewhere would help policy makers.
More at the linkLittle by little, Hawaii’s iconic beaches are disappearing. Most beaches on... more
Eighty per cent of Bangladesh lies on a floodplain less than 5 metres above sea level. As sea levels rise and seasonal storms become more severe, millions of farmers living along the country's southern coast could lose their land and livelihoods, putting the entire country's food security at risk. Fighting against time, six branches of government and international donors work together to help farmers adapt.
http://youtu.be/auFoBr1PaqsEighty per cent of Bangladesh lies on a floodplain less than 5 metres above sea level.... more
Former president Mohamed Nasheed, who resigned last month in what he claimed was a de facto coup, warns the country will now find it difficult to make its voice heard on the global
When Maldivian President Mohamed Nasheed resigned last month, many people outside the archipelago were shocked to hear the leader, famed for once holding a scuba diving underwater cabinet conference to raise the alarm on rising sea levels, may have been ousted in a de facto coup.
The country was plunged into a political crisis when Nasheed agreed to step down on 7 February amid protests against his rule. He later said he was forced to leave by an army "mutiny" and resigned at gunpoint, a claim denied by Mohamed Waheed – Nasheed’s successor and former vice president, who said the transfer of power was constitutional.
The Commonwealth has suspended the Maldives from its human rights watchdog, the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, and at the time of writing is in talks with both parties to try and agree an early election date.
The new parliament was expected to reconvene today after Nasheed's supporters stymied the first attempt on 1 March by blocking Waheed from entering the house, branding the new administration a "rebel government".
Speaking in an exclusive interview with BusinessGreen, Nasheed reiterated his call for an early election, warning the unrest has undermined the Maldives' reputation. He predicted the new government would now struggle to make an impact on the global political stage, particularly in the climate change arena.
"One of the things with us, was that there was nothing the international community could say about us… We were not beating anyone up, we were not doing anything drastically wrong," said Nasheed, who was elected president in 2008, following 30 years of military rule.
"The international community also took the Maldives as a leading country in human rights, in implementing democracy… and, therefore, it was easy for us to go out and advocate with all the moral authority behind us.
"Now this government won't have the moral authority for such advocacy and, therefore, I think it's going to face a huge challenge on climate change negotiations," added Nasheed.
Nasheed’s resignation will also come as a blow to those countries arguing for swift action on climate change. He was widely hailed as a leading voice for the small island states, many of which will be the first to suffer from rising sea levels.
The 1,200 low-lying islands that make up the Maldives are home to 385,000 people, but none of the coral islands are more than 1.8 metres above sea level and they are at serious risk of being inundated if the latest scientific predictions that sea levels could rise by more than one metre by the end of the century prove accurate. Nasheed has even floated the idea of moving the resulting "climate castaways" to Australia.
The Island President, a documentary screening in London this week and nationwide from 3 April, tracks Nasheed’s first year in office, culminating in a behind-the-scenes report of his trip to the 2009 Copenhagen climate summit, which includes his powerful plea to fellow negotiators to sign the Copenhagen Accord when talks were on the brink of collapsing.
But while Nasheed is no longer in a position to play a formal role at the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC), he told BusinessGreen he would try to attend the 18th Conference of the Parties in Qatar in December, as well as the preceding Bonn conference in May, where negotiators will hold the inaugural session of the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, agreed in December last year.
“My environmental beliefs don't necessarily stand from where I hold office, so I will always campaign, but the work that I can do as president is far more substantial," he said. "So in that sense I would like to contribute to the climate change debate and I think it’s very, very important that people understand the gravity of the issue. This is not something in the future, but is something that is happening now."
More at the linkFormer president Mohamed Nasheed, who resigned last month in what he claimed was a de... more
* Fossils seen supplying 85 pct of energy demand in 2050
* Financial, human and biodiversity costs all huge
* CO2 cut, global CO2 mkt delays make 2 degree limit harder
By Nina Chestney
LONDON, March 15 (Reuters) - Global greenhouse gas emissions could rise 50 percent by 2050 without more ambitious climate policies, as fossil fuels continue to dominate the energy mix, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said on Thursday.
"Unless the global energy mix changes, fossil fuels will supply about 85 percent of energy demand in 2050, implying a 50 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions and worsening urban air pollution," the OECD said in its environment outlook to 2050.
The global economy in 2050 will be four times larger than today and the world will use around 80 percent more energy.
But the global energy mix is not predicted to be very different from that of today, the report said.
Fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas will make up 85 percent of energy sources. Renewables, including biofuels, are forecast to make up 10 percent and nuclear the rest.
Due to such dependence on fossils, carbon dioxide emissions from energy use are expected to grow by 70 percent, the OECD said, which will help drive up the global average temperature by 3 to 6 degrees Celsius by 2100 - exceeding the internationally agreed warming limit of within 2 degrees.
Global carbon dioxide emissions from energy reached an all-time high of 30.6 gigatonnes in 2010, despite the economic downturn which reduced industrial production.
COST OF INACTION
The financial cost of taking no further climate action could result in up to a 14 percent loss in world per capita consumption by 2050, according to some estimates.
Human costs would also be high as premature deaths from pollution exposure could double to 3.6 million a year, the OECD said.
Demand for water could rise by 55 percent, increasing competition for supplies and resulting in 40 percent of the global population living in water-stressed areas, while plant and animal species could decline by a further 10 percent.
To prevent the worst effects of global warming, international climate action should start in 2013, a global carbon market be set up, the energy sector transformed to low carbon and all low-cost advanced technologies should be explored such as biomass energy and carbon capture.
However, a new international climate deal might not come into force until 2020 and carbon markets not linked until then, making it harder to achieve the 2 degree limit and requiring very rapid rates of emissions cuts after 2020 to catch up.
Current international emissions cut pledges fall short of what is required to limit temperature rises to safe levels so decisive action at the national level is needed, the OECD said.
More at the link* Fossils seen supplying 85 pct of energy demand in 2050 * Financial, human and... more
The complete melt of the Greenland ice sheet could occur at lower global temperatures than previously thought, a study in the journal Nature Climate Change showed on Sunday, increasing the threat and severity of a rise in sea level.
Substantial melting of land ice could contribute to long-term sea level rise of several meters, potentially threatening the lives of millions of people.
"Our study shows that a temperature threshold for melting the (ice sheet) exists and that this threshold has been overestimated until now," said scientists at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid, who used computer simulations of the ice sheet's evolution to predict its future behavior.
A complete ice sheet melt could happen if global temperatures rose between 0.8 and 3.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, with a best estimate of 1.6 degrees, the scientists said.
Previous research has suggested the ice sheet could melt in a range of a 1.9 to 5.1 degree temperature rise, with a best estimate of 3.1 degrees.
One-twentieth of the world's ice is in Greenland, which is about a quarter of the size of the United States and about 80 percent of it is covered by the ice sheet. If it all melted it would be equivalent to a 6.4 meter global sea level rise, previous research has shown.
"If the global temperature significantly overshoots the threshold for a long time, the ice will continue melting and not regrow - even if the climate would, after many thousand years, return to its pre-industrial state," said team leader Andrey Ganopolski at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.
Today, global warming of 0.8 degrees has already been recorded.
"The more we exceed the threshold, the faster it melts," said Alexander Robinson, lead-author of the study.
If the world takes no action to limit greenhouse gas emissions, the earth could warm by 8 degrees Celsius.
"This would result in one fifth of the ice sheet melting within 500 years and a complete loss in 2,000 years," he said.
"This is not what one would call a rapid collapse. However, compared to what has happened in our planet's history, it is fast. And we might already be approaching the critical threshold.
If temperature rise is limited to 2 degrees Celsius, a complete melt of the ice sheet could happen in 50,000 years, the study found.The complete melt of the Greenland ice sheet could occur at lower global temperatures... more
“It would be immoral to leave these young people with a climate system spiraling out of control.”
by Dan Miller
NASA climate scientist James Hansen gave a talk at the TED conference in Long Beach, CA on February 29th where he laid out the case for taking urgent action to reduce greenhouse emissions.
Dr. Hansen’s talk began by describing his personal journey, originally studying Venus under Prof. James Van Allen and then working at NASA on an instrument to study Venus’ atmosphere. But after being asked to do some calculations of Earth’s greenhouse effect, Dr. Hansen resigned from the Venus mission to work full time studying Earth’s atmosphere “because a planet changing before our eyes is more interesting and important – its changes will affect all humanity.”
Dr. Hansen and some colleagues published a 1981 paper in Science Magazine that concluded that “observed warming of 0.4C in the prior century was consistent with the greenhouse effect of increasing CO2, — that Earth would likely warm in the 1980s, — and warming would exceed the noise level of random weather by the end of the century. We also said that the 21st century would see shifting climate zones, creation of drought prone regions in North America and Asia, erosion of ice sheets, rising sea levels, and opening of the fabled Northwest passage. All of these impacts have since either happened or are now well underway.”
Dr. Hansen went on to explain that, after speaking out for the need for an energy policy that would address climate change, the White House contacted NASA and Dr. Hansen was ordered to not speak to the media without permission. After informing the New York Times about the situation, the censorship was lifted and Dr. Hansen continued to speak out, justifying his actions with the first line of NASA’s Mission Statement’: “To understand and protect the home planet”. But there were consequences… the reference to the home planet was soon struck from NASA’s Mission Statement, never to return.
Dr. Hansen then went on to describe some of the recent science, including a detailed look at the Earth’s energy imbalance that was made possible by data from 3000 “Argo” floats that measure ocean temperature at different depths. Dr. Hansen said that the current imbalance of 0.6 watts/square meter (which does not include the energy already used to cause the current warming of 0.8°C) was equivalent to exploding 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs every day, 365 days per year.
Favorite denier myths such as “it’s the Sun” and “CO2 lags temperature” were addressed by Dr. Hansen and shown to be wrong or irrelevant. He also discussed how amplifying feedbacks in the past took small changes in temperature due to slight changes in the Earth’s orbit and either initiated or ended ice ages. He then said these same amplifying feedbacks will occur today if we do not stop the warming. ”The physics does not change.”
Besides the impacts that are already occurring, Dr. Hansen said that if we do not stop the warming, we should expect sea levels to rise this century by 1 to 5 meters (3 to 18 feet), extinction of 20 to 50% of species, and massive droughts later this century. He said that the recent Texas heat wave, Moscow’s heat wave the year before, and the 2003 heat wave in Europe we “exceptional” events that now occur 25 to 50 times more often than just 50 years ago. Therefore, he concluded, we can say with high confidence that these heat waves were “caused” by global warming.
More at the link“It would be immoral to leave these young people with a climate system spiraling... more
Urgent economic need is driving a transformation of Tonga’s energy system
by Zachary Rybarczyk
Can you even imagine the United States setting a 50% target for renewable energy production by 2015?
Perhaps the U.S. could look toward the Kingdom of Tonga for some inspiration.
Tonga is one of many Pacific island nations that have set very ambitious renewable energy goals. Officials have set a goal of procuring 50% of power from renewable sources by 2015. Ambitious? Absolutely. But the transition is a matter of economic necessity.
Launched in 2010, the Tongan government laid out its Tonga Energy Road Map (TERM) in order to reduce carbon emissions, improve its electrical grid, and cut its dependence from foreign energy sources. Because Tonga is so dependent on imported resources for its energy needs — particularly diesel, which is used for 98% of electricity production — renewable energy systems are attractive:
The Tongan economy and electricity consumers have been exposed to high and volatile electricity prices linked to oil prices over the last ten years. Between 2001 and 2004, the average price of crude oil increased from around US$25 per barrel to around US$40 per barrel, an increase of 60%. In the next 4 years to 2008, the average price of crude more than doubled to a peak of around US$100 per barrel. In late 2008, crude oil prices dropped and continued fall into early 2009 averaging around US$62 per barrel during 2009. Diesel prices tracked the price of crude oil and led to Tongan electricity rates exceeding TOP1.00/kW-h in late 2008. Crude oil price is expected to increase in the future based on projections from the United States Department of Energy.
During the oil price spike in 2008, Tonga’s economy screeched to a halt. And since then, with oil prices continuing to rise, many consumers are not able to afford electricity at all.
In order to combat this problem, the island state recently received support from different organizations to execute on the roadmap for 50% renewable electricity.
With grants from the government of New Zealand to upgrade and expand outdated grid distribution, and technical support from the Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Program (REEEP) to expand its renewable energy portfolio, Tonga could very well become “a blueprint for other Pacific Island states that are grappling with similar challenges,” said Martin Hiller, the Director General of REEEP.
In January, Tonga signed an MOU with project developer Madsar and the Abu Dhabi Fund for construction of a 500-kilowatt solar PV project on Vava’u Island. The project will provide affordable, clean power for over 13% of Tonga’s 110,000 citizens.
The government has already broken ground on a large solar farm on its main island of Tongatapu with the help of another New Zealand grant, which will result in significant “diesel savings of around half a million liters a year, and around two-thousand tons of carbon emissions will be reduced per year as well.”
That’s one of the major differences between inertia in the U.S. and swift action in a place like Tonga: economic urgency. Until America faces an acute crisis, political leaders will likely continue to drag their feet on clean energy.Urgent economic need is driving a transformation of Tonga’s energy system by... more
And our State Dept. will not admit this is a coup. Tell me oil (oil routes) is not part of this.And our State Dept. will not admit this is a coup. Tell me oil (oil routes) is not... more
Rising seas have also begun to have an impact on drinking water, as the salty ocean forces itself into underground aquifers. City planners all along the coast are now laying out plans to retreat from the contamination by drilling new wells further inland. “The point,” says Murley, “is that you can do all sorts of adaptation [to climate change] without using the term” — raising coastal roadbeds, for example, in the name of highway improvement rather than climate adaptation, even though that’s what it really is. The pumps installed by the South Florida Water Management District on some of the region’s canals to handle backups during high tide or torrential rains are another good example.
The plan approved at the recent four-county summit is full of intentional language: words like “develop,” “study,” “identify,” “adopt,” and “evaluate” pepper most of the 100 recommendations it contains. That may sound frustratingly vague in the face of what promises to be a slow-moving but Ultimately, local officials will likely have to impose restrictions on development in the most vulnerable areas.inexorable disaster — the phrase “begin immediate construction of a ten-foot sea wall to protect the entire coastline” would feel a little more definitive.
But in fact, while the effects of climate change are generally understood, the specifics — What exactly is likely to happen along this particular ten-mile stretch of coastline? How will Palm Beach’s water supplies fare if sea level goes up another foot, and how different will the situation be in Fort Lauderdale? — are still mostly unknown.
“We have some great academic and agency scientists involved in the compact,” says Murley, “and the work we’ve done collectively has convinced us that global climate models are not fine-tuned enough to tell us what Southeast Florida in particular can expect,” says Murley. “A lot of the work over the next five years,” he says, “will be in downscaling the models.” Another major focus for the near future, he says, will be on resilience — how climate change will affect the built environment. “We’re about six months into a three-year project to understand this,” says Murley.
The really tough going is likely to come after the scientists finally do come to understand the specific threats facing Southeast Florida. Ultimately, county and city officials will likely have to impose restrictions on development in the most vulnerable areas — and that could be a lot riskier politically than improving drainage canals or digging wells.
As the world warms, sea levels could easily rise three to six feet this century. But increases will vary widely by region, Michael Lemonick writes, with prevailing winds, ocean currents, and even the gravitational pull of polar ice sheets determining whether some areas will be inundated while others stay dry.
Still, the fact that officials are looking at climate adaptation at the regional rather than the purely local level, and the fact that they’ve already shown they can work together, may allow them to take actions they couldn’t easily take on their own. “The compact enjoys bipartisan support,” says Steve Adams, of the Institute for Sustainable Communities. Adams, a Florida native and a former climate and energy advisor to Governor Crist, attended the recent summit. The final panel, he says, had four elected officials, two from each party. “They referred to each other,” says Adams, “as ‘good Republicans’ and ‘good Democrats.’”
more at the linkRising seas have also begun to have an impact on drinking water, as the salty ocean... more
From site: "Since we have such an active community of armchair oceanographers and spreadsheet Glaciologists here, I thought it would be useful to speak to the real thing, the people who actually spend time on the ocean, on the ice sheets, do the measurements, and come back to share that knowledge with us. I had just that opportunity at the American Geophysical conference in December.
I spoke to Josh Willis, Oceanographer with NASA at the Jet Propulsion Lab – Josh is one of best known young ocean scientists on the planet. He pointed me to the recent Kemp et al study of tidal marshes on the US East coast, which has produced a long record of sea level over the last 2000 years, complete with a very Hockey-stickish uptick during the last 200 or so.
Jason Box of the Byrd Polar Center at Ohio State was there, presenting evidence of acceleration in Greenland ice loss over the last 200 years. His bottom line – “If we talk 10 years from now, my expectation is that Greenland will be losing roughly double what it is now.”
I round out the video with takes from old pros lead NASA scientist Jim Hansen and Admiral David Titley, the US Navy’s Chief Oceanographer.
More at the link
And you can time it to the second how long it will take for the usual suspects who follow me to appear...They actually think they are converting people to believing their denier "religion" over actual scientists who are measuring the oceans and glaciers and what is right in front of our eyes. Laughable.From site: "Since we have such an active community of armchair oceanographers and... more
Stymied in global climate negotiations, three tiny Pacific nations plead for action through songs and dances
By Jennifer Weeks
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The applause was raucous, growing louder and faster as the beat accelerated.
A dozen dancers, arms stretched, torsos bare, pounded the stage in an increasing frenzy. They turned, swooped, slapped their thighs, swooped and turned again– birds hovering in the air, looking for something below – and shouting, "koburake!” or “rise up!" The audience exploded after each verse, thinking the performance over.
But the dance started up again, faster still.
The dancers had traveled more than 7,000 miles to perform for the crowd at Harvard University's Sanders Theater. They were singing of the frigate bird – an agile flier with a seven-foot wingspan that forages across the open ocean, returning to land only to roost or breed.
The performers on stage were part of a troupe of three dozen islanders from Kiribati and two other Pacific atolls, Tokelau and Tuvalu, touring the East and West coasts this fall.
Cloaked within the music was a message: Life on these islands centers on fishing and family ties. But climate change, driven by industrialized activities thousands of miles away, is intruding. Coastlines are eroding and sea level rise is pushing salt water into wells. Families that have lived in the same places for hundreds of years wonder how future generations will subsist.
No polished message
I didn't want a polished message. If you live on these islands, you are the spokespersons. - Judy Mitoma, tour organizer
The performers – fishermen, farmers, homemakers and students – tapped their culture and art to tell of their home and plight. The tour's title was also its message: Water is Rising. The goal was to share island culture with Americans and offer a deeply personal plea for action.
"Climate change is a survival issue for these people," said tour organizer Judy Mitoma, director of the University of California, Los Angeles' Center for Intercultural Performance and emeritus professor of dance. Mitoma has curated many cross-cultural performing-arts events in Asia and the Pacific. This project attracted her because it combined scientific and artistic themes, yet relied upon performers unversed in the science or politics of climate change.
"I didn't want ... a polished message," she said. "The point was that if you live on these islands, you are the spokespersons."
Kiribati, Tokelau and Tuvalu, with a combined population of about 113,000, have pushed themselves to the forefront of the global climate debate. Two years ago, at the United Nations climate talks in Copenhagen, Tuvalu's delegates brought the proceedings to a halt by arguing the Kyoto Protocol was fundamentally too weak to be used as a basis for negotiations.
Tokelau and Tuvalu both are gripped by drought; saltwater infusion has rendered many wells undrinkable, prompting New Zealand and the United States to airlift water to residents. In September, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon used a visit to Kiribati to spotlight risks climate change poses to island states, saying the nation was at "the front of the frontlines."
"Some indigenous cultures could literally disappear because of climate change," said Suzanne Benally, executive director of Cultural Survival, a Massachusetts-based nonprofit. "Their lives are very entwined with their ecosystems, and they are feeling direct, immediate consequences."
More at the linkStymied in global climate negotiations, three tiny Pacific nations plead for action... more
Report on climate change - definite trend in increasing average global sea surface temperatures of approximately .1° C per decadeNote: You'll have to site primary sources like peer reviewed journals as this is a requirement of the paper for ecology class.
Throughout the Earth’s history, the global climate has seen dramatic shifts in temperature, composition, stability, and many other environmental factors. Examining global trends both in recent and distant history is important in understanding how the climate can be expected to change and respond to these changes. The complexity of the global climate makes predicting and measuring its condition both difficult and uncertain. However, this does not imply that attempts at modeling global climate change are futile.
Our ability to measure and understand the global climate is constantly improving and its predictions are ever-approaching a reliable model.
There are many different measurements taken by many different scientists in an attempt to address the question of how global climate is changing. Observations from the 1994 World Ocean Atlas (WOA94) and the Comprehensive Ocean-Atmosphere Data Set (COADS), measuring sea surface temperature, have been used in many different analyses to find the answer to this question. In a method that groups individual temperature anomalies into climatological temperature classes and compares them with trends estimated based on 5° latitude-longitude bins, WOA94 data yields trends of a .14° + .04° C increase per decade for the temperature class approach compared to the .13° + .04° C increase per decade for the 5° bin approach. Corresponding COADS data yields trends of .10° + .03° C increase per decade compared to .09° + .03° C increase per decade. These trend estimates are within a 95% confidence interval of each other and show a definite trend in increasing average global sea surface temperatures of approximately .1° C per decade.
(Casey and Cornillon 2001) In a statistical model analyzing sources of uncertainty of global surface temperatures taken by satellites and weather balloons from 1860 to 1989, the global surface temperature increase was estimated to be .5° + .2° C per century. Despite this high level of uncertainty, this change in global surface temperature is significantly different from zero.
(Bloomfield 1992) In a more recent study analyzing more diverse sources of error, the best linear fit to annual global surface temperature indicated an increase in the global surface temperature of .61° + .16° C between 1861 and 2000.
(Folland et al. 2001)
Though the data for global temperature in both land surface-air and sea surface temperatures indicates an increasingly warmer climate, there are skeptics who doubt that this change is significantly different than historical temperature changes. In a 2001 report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) compared the difference in temperature in the Northern Hemisphere from 1000 to 1999 C.E. relative to the 1961 to 1990 average using temperature reconstruction (data from tree rings, corals, ice cores, and historical record) for data from 1000 to 1980 and instrumental data for 1902 to 1999.
The rate and duration of the warming of the 20th century is larger than other time during this time period, with the 1990s representing the warmest decade of the millennium and 1998 likely having been the warmest year. (Houghton et al. 2001) This indicates that the current measurements of global climate change are greater than those in the past millennium and are not typical of historic climate change.
These observed increases in sea surface and global surface temperature have significant effects on environments all around the globe. These increases in temperature affect rainfall, ocean currents, sea levels, glacial cover , and many other environmentally important global factors. It is important to continue to track these globally increasing temperature trends and the effects they have both on our own environments and those connected to ours.
Casey, Kenneth S., Peter Cornillon, 2001: Global and Regional Sea Surface Temperature Trends. Journal of Climate, Vol. 14, Issue 18 3801–3818. September 2001
IPCC, 2001: Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Third Assessment Report of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Houghton, J.T., Y. Ding, D.J. Griggs, M. Noguer, P.J. van der Linden, X. Dai, K.
Maskell, and C.A. Johnson (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA, 881pp.
Folland, C.K., Rayner, N.A., Brown S.J., Smith T.M., Shen S.S.P., Parker D.E., Macadam I., Jones P.D., Jones R.N., Nicholls N., and Sexton D.M.H. Global temperature change and its uncertainties since 1861. Geophysical Research Letters, Vol. 23, No. 23, 2621-2624. July 2001.
Bloomfield, Peter. Trends in Global Temperature. Climatic Change 21: 1-16. 1992.
http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/science/recenttc.htmlNote: You'll have to site primary sources like peer reviewed journals as this is... more
Scientists at an annual meeting of U.S. agronomists last week in San Antonio said the focus was climate change.
"Its impact on agriculture systems, impacts on crops, mitigation strategies with soil management -- a whole range of questions was being asked about climate change," said Jerry Hatfield, Laboratory Director at the National Soil Tilth Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.
"The biggest thing is high night-time temperatures have a negative impact on yield," Hatfield added, noting that the heat affects evaporation and the life process of the crops.
"One of the consequences of rising temperatures ... is to compress the life cycle of that plant. The other key consequence is that when the atmosphere gets warmer the atmospheric demand for water increases," Hatfield said.
"These are simple things that can occur and have tremendous consequences on our ability to produce a stable supply of food or feed or fiber," he said.
Boote at the University of Florida found that rice and sorghum plants failed to produce grain, something he calls "pollen viability," when the average 24-hour temperature is 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 Celsius). That equates to highs of 104 F during the day and 86 F at night, he said.
The global seed industry has set a high bar to boost crop yields by 2050 to feed a hungry world. Scientists said that the impact of heat on plant growth needs more focus and study.
"If you look at a lot of crop insurance claims, farmers say it is the lack of water that caused the plant to die," said Wolfram Schlenker, assistant professor at Columbia University.
"But I think it's basically different sides of the same coin because the water requirement of the plant increases tremendously if it's hot," he said.
More at the linkScientists at an annual meeting of U.S. agronomists last week in San Antonio said the... more
The challenges of human migration due to climate change have been underestimated as millions of people will either move into or be trapped in areas of risk by 2060, rather than migrating away, a British government report showed on Thursday.
The report, by the government-backed Foresight Program, examined the likely movement of people both within and between countries to 2060. It found the greatest risks will be borne by people who are unable or unwilling to relocate.
Those risks may also be made worse by policies which seek to prevent migration.
"We have assumed mass migration away from affected areas, but millions of people will also migrate into vulnerable areas and there will also be those who cannot migrate out," John Beddington, chief scientific adviser to the British government, told reporters.
"They pose different challenges to the international community," he added.
The United Nations estimates there were 210 million international migrants in 2010. A further 740 million were internal migrants in 2009.
An average 25 million people a year have been displaced due to weather-related events since 2008, which will likely rise as such events become more extreme and frequent, Beddington said.
The report estimates there will be between 154 and 179 million people living in rural coastal floodplains by 2060 who will be unable to move away due to poverty.
These trapped communities will need to be made more resilient to environmental events.
Up to 192 million people will also move into urban coastal floodplains in Africa and Asia by 2060 in search of work and a better economic situation.
This kind of migration could be beneficial by opening up new sources of income which help people become stronger and more resilient, enabling households to stay in a place for longer, the report said.
Migration should be considered when funds are being allocated at U.N. climate talks in November in Durban, South Africa, the report said.
The cost of doing nothing will be higher than the cost of measures to tackle migration, especially if they reduce the likelihood of displacement, it added.
"I would hope to see initiatives on migration, forestry and agriculture to follow the Durban meeting," said Beddington, adding that he does not expect a universally binding emissions reduction agreement to emerge this year.
More at the linkThe challenges of human migration due to climate change have been underestimated as... more