CC4C. Stay Current—What Is Global Warming?
Stay current for Chapter 4
See non-chronological resources (bottom of page).
2022-07-20. In a paradox, cleaner air is now adding to global warming. [https://www.science.org/content/article/paradox-cleaner-air-now-adding-global-warming] By Paul Voosen, Science Magazine. Excerpt: It’s one of the paradoxes of global warming. Burning coal or gasoline releases the greenhouse gases that drive climate change. But it also lofts pollution particles that reflect sunlight and cool the planet, offsetting a fraction of the warming. Now, however, as pollution-control technologies spread, both the noxious clouds and their silver lining are starting to dissipate. Using an array of satellite observations, researchers have found that the climatic influence of global air pollution has dropped by up to 30% from 2000 levels. Although this is welcome news for public health—airborne fine particles, or aerosols, are believed to kill several million people per year—it is bad news for global warming. The cleaner air has effectively boosted the total warming from carbon dioxide emitted over the same time by anywhere from 15% to 50%, estimates Johannes Quaas, a climate scientist at Leipzig University and lead author of the study. And as air pollution continues to be curbed, he says, “There is a lot more of this to come.” “I believe their conclusions are correct,” says James Hansen, a retired NASA climate scientist who first called attention to the “Faustian bargain” of fossil fuel pollution in 1990.…
2022-06-15. New data reveals extraordinary global heating in the Arctic. [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jun/15/new-data-reveals-extraordinary-global-heating-in-the-arctic] By Damian Carrington, The Guardian. Excerpt: New data has revealed extraordinary rates of global heating in the Arctic, up to seven times faster than the global average. The heating is occurring in the North Barents Sea, a region where fast rising temperatures are suspected to trigger increases in extreme weather in North America, Europe and Asia. The researchers said the heating in this region was an “early warning” of what could happen across the rest of the Arctic. The new figures show annual average temperatures in the area are rising across the year by up to 2.7C a decade, with particularly high rises in the months of autumn of up to 4C a decade. This makes the North Barents Sea and its islands the fastest warming place known on Earth. Recent years have seen temperatures far above average recorded in the Arctic, with seasoned observers describing the situation as “crazy”, “weird”, and “simply shocking”. Some climate scientists have warned the unprecedented events could signal faster and more abrupt climate breakdown.…
2022-04-04. 5 Takeaways From the U.N. Report on Limiting Global Warming. By Raymond Zhong, The New York Times. Excerpt: Current pledges to cut emissions, even if nations follow through on them, won’t stop temperatures from rising to risky new levels.… [https://www.nytimes.com/2022/04/04/climate/ipcc-report-explained.html] See also Eos article by Jenessa Duncombe, NY Times article, Stopping Climate Change Is Doable, but Time Is Short, U.N. Panel Warns; and IPCC Synthesis Report.
2022-03-18. It’s 70 degrees warmer than normal in eastern Antarctica. Scientists are flabbergasted. By Jason Samenow and Kasha Patel, The Washington Post. Excerpt: The coldest location on the planet has experienced an episode of warm weather this week unlike any ever observed, with temperatures over the eastern Antarctic ice sheet soaring 50 to 90 degrees above normal. The warmth has smashed records and shocked scientists.… [https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2022/03/18/antarctica-heat-wave-climate-change/] See also The Guardian article, Heatwaves at both of Earth’s poles alarm climate scientists – https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/mar/20/heatwaves-at-both-of-earth-poles-alarm-climate-scientists.
2022-03-16. 1.5°C May Not Seem Like Much, But It’s a Really Big Deal. Here’s Why. By Ann Reid, Executive Director, National Center for Science Education. Excerpt: In 2015, recognizing the existential threat posed by global climate change and the need for coordinated action, nearly 200 nations adopted the Paris Agreement, a framework for addressing the climate threat on an international scale. A central goal of the agreement was this: Holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change. …That still might not seem like much, but there are certainly times when a 2.7°F increase would be a cause for concern. For example, if one of my children had a fever of 101.3°F, 2.7°F above normal, it would certainly get my attention. Fever is just one instance of a small change in temperature having a dramatic biological effect. For example, developing sea turtles are exquisitely sensitive to temperature: If turtle eggs are incubated below 81.86°F, all the babies will be male. Above 87.8°F, all of them will be female. As temperatures rise, the gender balance of the species will grow increasingly skewed. In fact, all sorts of biological processes are affected by temperature, including when leaves open and fruits form, insects hatch, and fish spawn. And because so many of those biological processes are interconnected, the effect of even minute changes in temperature can cascade through an ecosystem.… [https://www.nsta.org/blog/15degc-may-not-seem-much-its-really-big-deal-heres-why]
2022-02-28. IPCC issues ‘bleakest warning yet’ on impacts of climate breakdown. By Fiona Harvey, The Guardian. Excerpt: Climate breakdown is accelerating rapidly, many of the impacts will be more severe than predicted and there is only a narrow chance left of avoiding its worst ravages, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has said. …In what some scientists termed “the bleakest warning yet”, the summary report from the global authority on climate science says droughts, floods, heatwaves and other extreme weather are accelerating and wreaking increasing damage. Allowing global temperatures to increase by more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, as looks likely on current trends in greenhouse gas emissions, would result in some “irreversible” impacts. These include the melting of ice caps and glaciers, and a cascading effect whereby wildfires, the die-off of trees, the drying of peatlands and the thawing of permafrost release additional carbon emissions, amplifying the warming further. António Guterres, the UN secretary general, said: “I have seen many scientific reports in my time, but nothing like this. Today’s IPCC report is an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership.”… [https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/feb/28/ipcc-issues-bleakest-warning-yet-impacts-climate-breakdown] See also articles in The Washington Post, The New York Times, and Science.
2021-08-09. What Five Graphs from the U.N. Climate Report Reveal About Our Path to Halting Climate Change. By Jenessa Duncombe, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s first assessment report since 2013 describes two illustrative scenarios that keep warming below 2°C—and several others that go wildly offtrack.…The world has warmed 1.1°C compared to preindustrial levels…. Keeping warming below 2°C, and perhaps 1.5°C, is still possible; it’ll take immediate and sustained emissions cuts. …Net zero carbon dioxide (CO2) [emissions] is a requirement for any long-term climate solution. …The two scenarios in the report that limit warming below 2°C use carbon removal from the atmosphere during the latter part of the century…. [https://eos.org/articles/what-five-graphs-from-the-u-n-climate-report-reveal-about-our-path-to-halting-climate-change]
2021-07-27. [https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/07/un-climate-panel-confronts-implausibly-hot-forecasts-future-warming] – U.N. climate panel confronts implausibly hot forecasts of future warming. Source: By Paul Voosen, Science Magazine. Excerpt: Next month, after a yearlong delay because of the pandemic, the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will begin to release its first major assessment of human-caused global warming since 2013. The report…will drop on a world that has starkly changed in 8 years, warming by more than 0.3°C to nearly 1.3°C above preindustrial levels. Weather has grown more severe, seas are measurably higher, and mountain glaciers and polar ice have shrunk sharply. …But as climate scientists face this alarming reality, the climate models that help them project the future have grown a little too alarmist. Many of the world’s leading models are now projecting warming rates that most scientists, including the modelmakers themselves, believe are implausibly fast. …scientists have scrambled to understand what went wrong and how to turn the models, which in other respects are more powerful and trustworthy than their predecessors, into useful guidance for policymakers. …In the past, most models projected a “climate sensitivity”—the warming expected when atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is doubled over preindustrial times—of between 2°C and 4.5°C. Last year, a landmark paper that largely eschewed models and instead used documented factors including ongoing warming trends calculated a likely climate sensitivity of between 2.6°C and 3.9°C. But many of the new models from leading centers showed warming of more than 5°C—uncomfortably outside these bounds. …The models were also out of step with records of past climate. For example, scientists used the new model from NCAR to simulate the coldest point of the most recent ice age, 20,000 years ago. Extensive paleoclimate records suggest Earth cooled nearly 6°C compared with preindustrial times, but the model, fed with low ice age CO2 levels, had temperatures plummeting by nearly twice that much, suggesting it was far too sensitive to the ups and downs of CO2….
2021-04-27. A Massive Methane Reservoir Is Lurking Beneath the Sea. By Fanni Daniella Szakal, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Methane bubbles regularly reach the surface of the Laptev Sea in the East Siberian Arctic Ocean (ESAO), each of them a small blow to our efforts to mitigate climate change. The source of the methane used to be a mystery, but a joint Swedish-Russian-U.S. investigation recently discovered that an ancient gas reservoir is responsible for the bubbly leaks. Methane in the Laptev Sea is stored in reservoirs below the sea’s submarine permafrost or in the form of methane hydrates—solid ice-like structures that trap the gas inside. It is also produced by microbes in the thawing permafrost itself. Not all of these sources are created equal: Whereas microbial methane is released in a slow, gradual process, disintegrating hydrates and reservoirs can lead to sudden, eruptive releases. Methane is escaping as the Laptev’s submarine permafrost is thawed by the relative warmth of overlying seawater. With an even stronger greenhouse effect than carbon dioxide, methane releases into the atmosphere could substantially amplify global warming…. [https://eos.org/articles/a-massive-methane-reservoir-is-lurking-beneath-the-sea]
2021-04-15. California to hunt greenhouse gas leaks and superemitters with monitoring satellites. By Paul Voosen, Science Magazine. Excerpt: In December 2016, soon after advisers to President Donald Trump threatened to shut off NASA’s climate-observing satellites, California Governor Jerry Brown made a famous promise: “If Trump turns off the satellites,” he said while addressing a geoscience meeting, “California will launch its own damn satellites.” That promise is now a reality, with California and partners set to launch by 2023 two satellites to spot and monitor plumes of planet-warming carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane. If all goes right, dozens more could follow. The $100 million Carbon Mapper project, announced today and financed by private philanthropists including Michael Bloomberg, will advance efforts to track concentrated emissions of greenhouse gases, which rise from fossil fuel power plants, leaky pipelines, and abandoned wells. Previous satellites have lacked the resolution and focus to monitor point sources rigorously. “We’re going after the big emitters,” says Riley Duren, Carbon Mapper’s CEO and a remote-sensing scientist at the University of Arizona. He says the ultimate goal is to be “like the weather service for methane and CO2…. [https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/04/california-hunt-greenhouse-gas-leaks-and-super-emitters-monitoring-satellites]
2021-04-14. Turf’s Dirty Little Secret. By Jenessa Duncombe, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: Australian scientists have found that grassy sports fields used for soccer, cricket, and baseball can release a potent greenhouse gas into the environment. A yearlong study at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Vic., suggests that mowing, fertilizing, and applying herbicides to turfgrass sports fields contributes to the release of large amounts of nitrous oxide. “This study is another indication that urbanization has complex impacts on our environment,” said Amy Townsend-Small, a biogeochemist who was not involved with the research. “Even though most cities are working toward increasing their amount of green space, this doesn’t always help meet climate goals.” …Nitrous oxide is the third most emitted greenhouse gas, after carbon dioxide and methane. Although it makes up only 7% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, it has 265 times the global warming capacity of carbon dioxide. The gas is also the largest source of ozone-depleting substances from humans. In soil, nitrous oxide is emitted by microbes digesting chemical compounds for energy. Although the process is natural, humans have cultivated soil conditions that encourage more gas production. Agriculture emits the most nitrous oxide of any sector. …Although the problem is relatively small, turf’s footprint may be large. In one study by Cristina Milesi of the NASA Ames Research Center, it was calculated that turfgrass covers an area 3 times larger than any other irrigated crop in the United States…. [https://eos.org/articles/turfs-dirty-little-secret]
2021-01-14. 2020 rivals hottest year on record, pushing Earth closer to a critical climate threshold. By Chris Mooney, Andrew Freedman and John Muyskens, Design by Jake Crump, The Washington Post. Excerpt: The year 2020, which witnessed terrifying blazes from California to Siberia and a record number of tropical cyclones in the Atlantic, rivaled and possibly even equaled the hottest year on record, according to multiple scientific announcements Thursday. Only the “super” El Niño year of 2016 appears to have been slightly hotter in the era of reliable measurements dating to the late 1800s, according to the results from NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the United Kingdom’s Met Office and Berkeley Earth. NASA finds that 2020 edged out 2016 by less than a hundredth of a degree Celsius, while the other three groups say it fell shy by a mere .01 to .02 degrees Celsius (.02 to .04 degrees Fahrenheit)…. [https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-environment/interactive/2021/2020-tied-for-hottest-year-on-record/]
2020-05-24. Eight Lessons from COVID-19 to Guide Our Climate Response. By Kimberly M. S. Cartier, Eos/AGU. Excerpt: The global response to the ongoing pandemic can teach us how we should, and shouldn’t, respond to the climate crisis. And most important, it shows that we can do something…. [https://eos.org/articles/eight-lessons-from-covid-19-to-guide-our-climate-response]
2020-04-02. Reforestation as a Local Cooling Mechanism. ByAaron Sidder. Excerpt: Reforestation has been shown to cool surface temperatures, and a novel study suggests it may also reduce air temperature up to several stories above the ground. … Temperate forests have a reputation as crucial global carbon sinks. In fact, research suggests that American forests alone suck up the equivalent to 14% of annual carbon dioxide emissions in the United States. And after decades of net global forest loss, reestablishing forests worldwide is viewed as a viable option for mitigating the effects of climate change. Beyond the carbon sequestration potential of reforestation, in many parts of the world, forests offer the added benefit of reducing surface temperatures by drawing water from the atmosphere and increasing heat transfer away from the surface. At a local level, restoring forests may help alleviate the effects of climate warming…. [https://eos.org/research-spotlights/reforestation-as-a-local-cooling-mechanism].
2020-02-08. Antarctica Sets Record High Temperature: 64.9 Degrees. By Derrick Bryson Taylor, The New York Times. Excerpt: Antarctica … set a record high temperature on Thursday, underscoring the global warming trend, researchers said. Esperanza, Argentina’s research station on the northern tip of the Antarctic Peninsula, reached 64.9 degrees Fahrenheit, or 18.2 degrees Celsius, breaking the previous record of 63.5 degrees set on March 24, 2015, according to Argentina’s National Meteorological Service. The station has been recording temperatures since 1961…. [https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/08/climate/antarctica-record-temperature.html]
2020-01-13. 2019 Was a Record Year for Ocean Temperatures, Data Show. By Kendra Pierre-Louis, The New York Times. [https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/13/climate/ocean-temperatures-climate-change.html] Excerpt: Last year was the warmest year on record for the world’s oceans, part of a long-term warming trend, according to a study released Monday [https://doi.org/10.1007/s00376-020-9283-7]. “If you look at the ocean heat content, 2019 is by far the hottest, 2018 is second, 2017 is third, 2015 is fourth, and then 2016 is fifth,” said Kevin E. Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and an author on the study. …Since the middle of last century, the oceans have absorbed roughly 93 percent of the excess heat caused by greenhouse gases from human activities such as burning coal for electricity. That has shielded the land from some of the worst effects of rising emissions. “Ocean heat content is, in many ways, our best measure of the effect of climate change on the earth,” said Zeke Hausfather, the director of climate and energy at the Breakthrough Institute in California, who was not involved in this study….
2019-12-18. Australia Records Its Hottest Day. At Least for Now. By Jamie Tarabay, The New York Times. [https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/18/world/australia/record-heat.html] Excerpt: …A national heat wave, triggered by a confluence of meteorological factors that extends well beyond Australia’s shores, pushed high temperatures across the country on Tuesday to an average of 105.6 degrees, or 40.9 degrees Celsius, breaking the record of 104.5, or 40.3 Celsius, set on Jan. 7, 2013. …As the temperatures have risen, so has the threat of fires, which have ravaged large swathes of the country and shrouded Sydney in smoke. …The highest temperature ever recorded in the country was 123 degrees on Jan. 2, 1960, in Oodnadatta, a remote outback town in South Australia. On Wednesday, the hottest place on the continent was Birdsville, Queensland, which reached 117 degrees. Nine of Australia’s 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2005, with last year the third hottest….
2019-10-01. Indonesia’s fires are bad, but new measures prevented them from becoming worse. By Dennis Normile, Science Magazine. [https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/10/indonesias-fires-are-bad-new-measures-prevented-them-becoming-worse] Excerpt: Once again haze is suffocating Indonesia, but some scientists say it could have been worse. Acrid smoke from fires set to clear land for agriculture has sent scores to hospitals with respiratory problems and closed thousands of schools in Indonesia and neighboring Malaysia. At its thickest, in mid-September, more than 100 flights had to be canceled because of poor visibility. Although the government has tried to seed clouds for rain and dump water from the air, only the monsoon rains due later this month are likely to quench the fires. Yet countermeasures Indonesia has taken since the last major haze event, in 2015, have helped limit this year’s disaster. A new agency is restoring degraded peatlands, where agribusiness has drained and dried out meters-thick layers of waterlogged vegetation, making it vulnerable to ground fires that are almost impossible to stop. The government has also beefed up a moratorium on the conversion of prime forest land underlain by peat. The efforts “are providing some positive results,” says Arief Wijaya of the Indonesian branch of the World Resources Institute in Jakarta. But virtually all experts agree that more is needed, including stricter enforcement of a ban on setting fires….
2019-07-15. Hungry elephants fight climate change one mouthful at a time. By Eva Frederick, Science Magazine. Excerpt: African forest elephants can eat up to 450 kilograms of vegetation a day as they plow through the rainforests of West Africa and the Congo Basin. But all this munching actually leads to forests with more plant mass, according to a new study, and it could be good for climate change. …they munch trees and plants with stems smaller than 30 centimeters in diameter—a little wider than a basketball—often damaging or killing them. Researchers used a model to predict what a forest might look like after years of elephants eating down these smaller plants. The bottom line: Slow-growing, shade-tolerant trees thrive with less competition for water and sunlight. The resulting forest has fewer, taller trees with denser wood, and the overall mass of vegetation above the ground is higher, meaning more carbon is stored, the team reports on today in Nature Geoscience. …as elephants disappear—which they are doing at an alarming rate—those same forests will be less able to help fight climate change. Elephants’ effects on forest ecosystems may also explain why rainforests look different from continent to continent. A walk through the elephant-free Peruvian Amazon, for example, is a much different experience than a trek through a rainforest in the Republic of Congo, which has smaller, more tightly packed trees despite similar climate and soil conditions…. See also https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/19/science/elephants-climate-change.html
2018-07-19. Greenhouse gases are warming the world—but chilling Antarctica. Here’s why. By Sid Perkins, Science Magazine. Excerpt: The greenhouse gases that are warming the globe actually cool Antarctica much of the year, a new study confirms. The odd trend doesn’t break the laws of physics, but it does highlight what a strange place Earth’s southernmost continent truly is. Antarctica is home to many extremes. It’s the world’s highest continent, with an average elevation just a shade under 2300 meters. And despite its ice, it’s technically a desert thanks to a paucity of precipitation. This lack of moisture is one of the key factors behind the region’s “negative greenhouse effect,” says Sergio Sejas, an atmospheric scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, who led a newly published investigation of this atmospheric quirk. …water vapor is a strong greenhouse gas, too. It is abundant in the atmosphere, giving it a much stronger overall warming effect. And when water vapor is scarce, as it is above central Antarctica, the continent’s greenhouse effect goes topsy-turvy, Sejas says. Add to it another weather phenomenon called a temperature inversion, where the atmosphere warms as altitude increases, rather than growing colder, and things truly start to go awry. …“Antarctica is the only place in the world where the surface is colder than the stratosphere,” says Justus Notholt, an atmospheric physicist at the University of Bremen in Germany. The continent’s surface temperatures are typically 20°C colder than the temperature a few hundred meters up in the atmosphere, he explains…. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/07/greenhouse-gases-are-warming-world-chilling-antarctica-here-s-why
2018-05-24. Decoding the Weather Machine. By Gina Varamo, Outreach Coordinator, NOVA. Excerpt: On April 18th, NOVA aired this climate change documentary …two hour special takes a deep dive into our climate machine to explain why scientists agree that our climate is changing, how climate change will impact our daily lives, and how we can be resilient—and even thrive– in the face of this enormous change. …[NOVA is] looking for partners that are interested in bringing a screening of Decoding the Weather Machine to their community. NOVA will provide your school or organization with a free DVD of Decoding the Weather Machine and a screening guide for planning your event every step of the way, from advertising to execution! It includes more information about the climate science discussed in the film, as well as sample discussion questions and panel formats to inspire community conversations once the film is over. If you’re interested in hosting a community screening, sign up on our website with a confirmed date and location. Once that is received, we will mail you a screening guide and DVD, and post your event information on our community screening calendar…. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/earth/decoding-weather-machine.html
2018-01-08. LISTEN: 1,200 Years of Earth’s Climate, Transformed into Sound. By Danielle Venton, KQED Science. Excerpt: …we’d like to offer a new way to understand the speed at which our planet has changed over the past few hundred years. This project was brought to us by three UC Berkeley graduate students and a sonification artist. …You’ll hear global temperatures and the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for the most recent three centuries…. The music… tracks global average temperature and CO2 from 850 A.D. to 2016. …Perhaps the pace of climate change can be better communicated through sound. “In all climate data you see it in a long chart with time that is way longer than human life time so it’s impossible to experience,” says Gordon. “But when you sonify it you actually experience time in a way that you can’t experience when you look at the chart. As you hear in the piece that Chris has composed there’s really not a lot happening for a really long time and it’s kind of soothing,” says Pennington. “We have a normal state of the world, and life has evolved relative to that normal state of the world.” The piece of sound begins with a low drone, the tone of which represents the concentration of carbon dioxide during the Middle Ages. It is accompanied by a twangy ping-pong sound: global temperature averages. Starting in the 1700s, however, you begin to hear a change. …Approaching the 1900s, the tone becomes a higher-pitched wail. The last few seconds of the piece sound like an alarm, the result of a meteoric rise in CO2 concentrations…. https://ww2.kqed.org/science/2018/01/08/listen-1200-years-of-earths-climate-transformed-into-sound/
2017-01-09. 2016 was 2nd warmest year on record for U.S. NOAA news release. Excerpt: 15 weather and climate disasters caused 138 deaths, $46B in damages. …depending on where you live, 2016 was either parched, soggy — or both. …The average U.S. temperature in 2016 was 54.9 degrees F (2.9 degrees F above average), which ranked as the second warmest year in 122 years of record-keeping. This is the 20th consecutive year the annual average temperature exceeded the average. Every state in the contiguous U.S. and Alaska experienced above-average annual temperatures, according to scientists from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. …This is the second highest number of disasters experienced in one year, with double the record number of inland flooding events for one year. …1 drought (affected multiple areas); 1 wildfire (affected multiple areas); 4 inland floods; 8 severe storms; and 1 hurricane (Matthew)…. http://www.noaa.gov/news/2016-was-2nd-warmest-year-on-record-for-us
2016-09-14. A Timeline of Earth’s Average Temperature Since the Last Ice Age Glaciation [CARTOON]. By XKCD Comics. Excerpt: When people say “climate has changed before,” here are the kinds of changes they’re talking about… http://xkcd.com/1732/
2016-07-19. Global Temperatures Are on Course for Another Record This Year. By Henry Fountain, The New York Times. Excerpt: …NASA scientists announced on Tuesday that global temperatures so far this year were much higher than in the first half of 2015. Gavin Schmidt, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, said that while the first six months of 2015 made it the hottest half-year ever recorded, “2016 really has blown that out of the water.” He said calculations showed there was a 99 percent probability that the full year would be hotter than 2015. Dr. Schmidt said the world was now “dancing” with the temperature targets set last year in the Paris climate treaty for nations to limit climate change. He attributed part of the rise in temperatures this year to El Niño, in which warming waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean pump a lot of heat into the atmosphere…. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/20/science/nasa-global-temperatures-2016.html
2016-04-19. 2016 Already Shows Record Global Temperatures. By Tatiana Schlossberg, The New York Times. Excerpt: …It has been the hottest year to date, with January, February and March each passing the mark set in 2015, according to new data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. March was also the 11th consecutive month to see a new record for temperatures since agencies started tracking them in the 1800s…. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/20/science/2016-global-warming-record-temperatures-climate-change.html See also: NOAA monthly update, March 2016 – http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/summary-info/global/201603
2016-01-08. Too Soon Gone – Gary Braasch, Visual Chronicler of Climate Change. By Andrew Revkin, The New York Times. Excerpt: Gary Braasch was a gifted photographer passionately devoted to chronicling climate change. …He was there, of course, to continue building the globe-spanning photographic record http://braaschphotography.com/ he had been creating since he latched onto global warming as his prime subject in the late 1990s. (Watch a 2008 presentation by Braasch and the climate scientist Stephen H. Schneider to get a feel for his work and views.) … Lynne Cherry, an author, illustrator and filmmaker who collaborated many times with Braasch, particularly notably in my favorite book on climate change for younger readers, “How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate.” …Gary aggregated the scientific research, accompanied by his rich photographs, into one of the first photographic books on climate change, “Earth Under Fire: How Global Warming is Changing the World,” and launched a website, “World View of Global Warming.” …in 2009, Gary and I [Lynn Cherry] founded Young Voices on Climate Change to champion youth solutions to the climate crisis through the “Young Voices for the Planet” film series. …See also: interview “Images of Climate Change: Hope & Progress” (Gary Braasch) … http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/03/08/too-soon-gone-gary-braasch-visual-chronicler-of-climate-change/
2016-02-12. Climate confusion among U.S. teachers. By Eric Plutzer et al, Science. Excerpt: Although more than 95% of active climate scientists attribute recent global warming to human causes and most of the general public accepts that climate change is occurring, only about half of U.S. adults believe that human activity is the predominant cause, which is the lowest among 20 nations polled in 2014. We …find that, whereas most U.S. science teachers include climate science in their courses, their insufficient grasp of the science may hinder effective teaching. Mirroring some actors in the societal debate over climate change, many teachers repeat scientifically unsupported claims in class. …30% of teachers emphasize that recent global warming “is likely due to natural causes,” and 12% do not emphasize human causes (half of whom do not emphasize any explanation and thereby avoid the topic altogether). …Some teachers may wish to teach “both sides” to accommodate values and perspectives that students bring to the classroom. …teachers might experience overt pressure from parents, community leaders, or school administrators not to teach climate change. …teachers also may not be very knowledgeable about a wide range of evidence—e.g., CO2 measurements from ice cores and from direct measures at Mauna Loa—and how climate models work. …many teachers are unaware of the extent of scientific agreement. …when asked “what proportion of climate scientists think that global warming is caused mostly by human activities?”—only 30% of middle-school and 45% of high-school science teachers selected the correct option of “81 to 100%.”…. http://science.sciencemag.org/content/351/6274/664.full
2015-07-09. NASA Study Finds Indian, Pacific Oceans Temporarily Hide Global Warming. NASA Release 15-147. Excerpt: A new NASA study of ocean temperature measurements shows in recent years extra heat from greenhouse gases has been trapped in the waters of the Pacific and Indian oceans. Researchers say this shifting pattern of ocean heat accounts for the slowdown in the global surface temperature trend observed during the past decade. …”The western Pacific got so warm that some of the warm water is leaking into the Indian Ocean through the Indonesian archipelago,” said Nieves, the lead author of the study. The movement of the warm Pacific water westward pulled heat away from the surface waters of the central and eastern Pacific, which resulted in unusually cool surface temperatures during the last decade. Because the air temperature over the ocean is closely related to the ocean temperature, this provides a plausible explanation for the global cooling trend in surface temperature…. http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-study-finds-indian-pacific-oceans-temporarily-hide-global-warming
2015-05-05. Ice cores show 200-year climate lag. By Stephanie McClellan, BBC News. Excerpt: Scientists have found a 200-year lag time between past climate events at the poles. The most detailed Antarctic ice core provides the first clear comparison with Greenland records, revealing a link between northern and southern hemisphere climate change. …abrupt and large temperature changes first occurred in Greenland, with the effect delayed about 200 years in the Antarctic. The study appears in Nature journal. …In the 1990s, scientists took ice cores from Greenland that revealed very abrupt and large swings in temperature approximately 20,000 to 60,000 years ago. But it wasn’t clear how this influenced global climate change. The 3,405 metre-long ice core, taken from the centre of West Antarctica, is the longest high resolution ice core. Researchers documented 18 abrupt climate events. “This record has annual resolution, meaning we can see information about every year going back 30,000 years, and close to that resolution all the way back to 68,000 years ago,” explains Eric Steig, professor of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington, who co-wrote the paper…. http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-32599228 0
2015-01-16. NASA, NOAA Find 2014 Warmest Year in Modern Record. NASA RELEASE 15-010. Excerpt: The year 2014 ranks as Earth’s warmest since 1880, according to two separate analyses by NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists. The 10 warmest years in the instrumental record, with the exception of 1998, have now occurred since 2000. …Since 1880, Earth’s average surface temperature has warmed by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit (0.8 degrees Celsius), a trend that is largely driven by the increase in carbon dioxide and other human emissions into the planet’s atmosphere. The majority of that warming has occurred in the past three decades. …scientists still expect to see year-to-year fluctuations in average global temperature caused by phenomena such as El Niño or La Niña. These phenomena warm or cool the tropical Pacific and are thought to have played a role in the flattening of the long-term warming trend over the past 15 years. However, 2014’s record warmth occurred during an El Niño-neutral year…. http://www.nasa.gov/press/2015/january/nasa-determines-2014-warmest-year-in-modern-record/.
2014-09-30. Greenland Is the New Black. Excerpt: …Greenland has never been green, but its massive glaciers aren’t white anymore, either. The icy island is turning black with soot (possibly the combination of increased wildfires in the Arctic, dust, microbes, and fewer winter snowstorms to refresh the whiteness). …The darker the snow, the more sunlight it absorbs, and the faster it melts. And that brings higher seas. If the entire Greenland ice sheet melted, sea levels worldwide could rise 23 feet…. http://www.onearth.org/articles/2014/09/greenland-is-the-new-black. by Susan Cosier, OnEarth, NRDC.
2014-04-06. World Running Out Of Time To Stop Global Warming, UN Report Says. Excerpt: OSLO, April 6 (Reuters) – World powers are running out of time to slash their use of high-polluting fossil fuels … a draft U.N. study …says nations will have to impose drastic curbs on their still rising greenhouse gas emissions to keep a promise made by almost 200 countries in 2010 to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius …over pre-industrial times. …The draft, seen by Reuters, outlines ways to cut emissions and boost low-carbon energy, which includes renewables such as wind, hydro- and solar power, nuclear power and “clean” fossil fuels, whose carbon emissions are captured and buried. …Saskatchewan Power in Canada will open a $1.35 billion coal-fired electricity generating plant this year that will extract a million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year from its exhaust gases – the first carbon capture and storage plant of its type. Reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the group meeting in Berlin, will help governments, which aim to agree a deal to slow climate change at a Paris summit in December 2015. Few nations have outlined plans consistent with staying below 2 degrees C. …The IPCC draft report is the third and final study in a U.N. series about climate change, updating findings from 2007, after the Japan report about the impacts and one in September in Sweden about climate science. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/06/global-warming-un_n_5099769.html. By Alister Doyle, Huffington Post.
2014-03-31. Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability — Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/AR5/. The Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group II contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report was approved, and the full report accepted, by the IPCC on 30 March 2014. The Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group I (http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/index.shtml) contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report was approved, and the full report accepted, by the IPCC on 27 September 2013. Articles about this: Panel’s Warning on Climate Risk: Worst Is Yet to Come, by Justin Gillis –http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/31/science/earth/panels-warning-on-climate-risk-worst-is-yet-to-come.html; Calculated Risk, by Melissa Mahony, OnEarth, NRDC – http://www.onearth.org/articles/2014/03/ipcc-to-humanity-climate-change-will-affect-us-all-lets-do-something-about-it-right.
2013-09-28. U.N. Climate Panel Endorses Ceiling on Global Emissions. Excerpt: STOCKHOLM — The world’s top climate scientists on Friday formally embraced an upper limit on greenhouse gases for the first time, establishing a target level at which humanity must stop spewing them into the atmosphere or face irreversible climatic changes. They warned that the target is likely to be exceeded in a matter of decades unless steps are taken soon to reduce emissions. …the panel endorsed a “carbon budget” for humanity — a limit on the amount of the primary greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, that can be produced by industrial activities and the clearing of forests. No more than one trillion metric tons of carbon could be burned and the resulting gases released into the atmosphere, the panel found, if planetary warming is to be kept below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius) above the level of preindustrial times. …Just over a half-trillion tons have already been burned since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, and at the rate energy consumption is growing, the trillionth ton will be burned sometime around 2040, according to calculations by Myles R. Allen, a scientist at the University of Oxford and one of the authors of the new report…. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/28/science/global-climate-change-report.html. Justin Gillis, New York Times.
2013-09-27. Newly released climate change report reinforces need for action. Excerpt: BERKELEY — The release today (Friday, Sept. 27) of Assessment Report 5, a new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), bolsters the conclusions of its 2007 report that humans are responsible for global warming, and it highlights the need for immediate action to reduce carbon emissions. [The report is at http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1] …said Inez Fung, professor of earth and planetary science and a coauthor of the 2007 report “Now CO2 is nearly 400 parts per million, and temperatures have been increasing steadily, decade by decade, and cannot be explained by natural fluctuations of the climate system. We now have definitive evidence that the upper 700 meters of the ocean have been warming, and that the oceans have become more acidic because of the invasion of anthropogenic CO2. …Two other reports on mitigation and adaptation are expected to be released next year. The IPCC was formed in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme to assess the evidence for climate change and predict the consequences…. http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2013/09/27/newly-released-climate-change-report-reinforces-need-for-action/. Robert Sanders, UC Berkeley News Center.
2013-07-23. Jim Hansen Presses the Climate Case for Nuclear Energy. Revkin: …To me, …Hansen’s far too confident about the scale at which nuclear power, particularly the new technologies that he prefers, could be deployed by the middle of this century. But his statements pose a particularly tough challenge for those who embrace his take on the dangers attending an unabated greenhouse-gas buildup but see a fast transition to solar, wind and other renewable energy sources as the solution. …. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/23/jim-hansen-presses-the-climate-case-for-nuclear-energy/?src=recpb. Andrew Revkin, New York Times.
2013-02-26. Infographic: Warming U.S. Winters | Susan E. Matthews, OnEarth–Natural Resources Defense Council. Excerpt: …average yearly temperatures in the contiguous U.S. states have been rising in recent decades — with 2012 being the hottest ever. …our coldest states have been heating up the most, … winters have been warming at faster rates than our summers. …The infographic … shows how Old Man Winter has been faring in every state since the ’70s…. See full article at http://www.onearth.org/blog/infographic-warming-winters.
2013-01-15. NASA Finds 2012 Sustained Long-Term Climate Warming Trend | NASA RELEASE : 13-021. Excerpt: …NASA scientists say 2012 was the ninth warmest of any year since 1880, continuing a long-term trend of rising global temperatures. With the exception of 1998, the nine warmest years in the 132-year record all have occurred since 2000, with 2010 and 2005 ranking as the hottest years on record. …on the current course of greenhouse gas increases, scientists expect each successive decade to be warmer than the previous decade. “One more year of numbers isn’t in itself significant,” GISS climatologist Gavin Schmidt said. “What matters is this decade is warmer than the last decade, and that decade was warmer than the decade before. The planet is warming. The reason it’s warming is because we are pumping increasing amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.” …. Read the full article: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2013/jan/HQ_13-021_Global_Temperature.html
2013-01-08. It’s So Hot in Australia That They Added New Colors to the Weather Map | Alexander Abad-Santos, The Atlantic Wire. Excerpt: …See that deep purple in the middle of this acne-red weather report from Down Under? That right there represents 129.2° F or 54 °C — it’s a brand-new shade that the Australian bureau of meteorology was forced to add to its heat index because their country is, you know, kind of on fire. “The scale has just been increased today …because the forecast coming from the bureau’s model is showing temperatures in excess of 50 degrees,” David Jones, head of the bureau’s climate monitoring and prediction unit, told The Sydney Morning Herald, which notes that the previous record high was 50.7°C (123°F), recorded in 1960 at Oodnadatta Airport in the southern part of Australia — right around where the new shades of hot are showing up today. …it’s just past midnight there right now … and it’s 95°F in Sydney. …giant fire risks that come with the heat …Australian officials are …labeling the warning “catastrophic.” …. Read the full article: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2013/01/its-so-hot-australia-they-added-new-colors-weather-map/60701/. See also animation in Dot Earth, The New York Times from Andrew Revkin: Australian Forecasters Add New Colors to Temperature Charts to Capture Record Heat .
2012-09-10. 2012 Record-Breaking Heat | by Climate Central. Excerpt: The summer of 2012 has been one for the record books in the lower 48 states. …2012 to-date has been the hottest year for the U.S. since instrument records began in 1895, and the summer was the third warmest summer on record. [See Interactive map of US with data on numbers of records broken.] Read the full article: http://www.climatecentral.org/news/2012-record-temperatures-which-states-led-the-nation-14951
2012 July 28. The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic. By Richard Muller, NY Times. Excerpt: Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause. My total turnaround, in such a short time, is the result of careful and objective analysis by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project…Our results show that the average temperature of the earth’s land has risen by two and a half degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of one and a half degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases…. Note: Author of the “opinion” piece is Richard Muller, UC Berkeley professor. Among his accomplishments are having started The Berkeley Real Time Supernova Search (with Carl Pennypacker, co-founder of HOU) which then became The Berkeley Automated Supernova Search, which then became the Supernova Cosmology Project, which discovered the accelerating expansion of the universe, for which Muller’s graduate student, Saul Perlmutter, shared the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics.
2012 July 30. 250 Years of Global Warming: Berkeley Earth Releases New Analysis | ScienceDaily. Excerpt: According to a new Berkeley Earth study released July 29, 2012, the average temperature of Earth’s land has risen by 1.5 °C over the past 250 years. The good match between the new temperature record and historical carbon dioxide records suggests that the most straightforward explanation for this warming is human greenhouse gas emissions. Together with their most recent results and papers, Berkeley Earth also released their raw data and analysis programs. They will be available online at BerkeleyEarth.org on July 30.
The new analysis from Berkeley Earth goes all the way back to 1753, about 100 years earlier than previous groups’ analyses…. Read the full article: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120730142509.htm
2012 July 16. Alaskan Salmon Evolve Along With the Climate. By Nicholas Bakalar, The NY Times. Excerpt: Alaskan salmon are apparently evolving to adapt to climate change. Researchers have suspected that temperature-driven changes in migration and reproduction behaviors — which have happened in many species — may be evidence of natural selection at work. Now there is genetic evidence to confirm the hypothesis…In the 1980s, the genetically marked late migrators made up about a third of the population. But as streams started warming earlier in the year, the proportion began to decrease rapidly — to just 5 percent by 2011 — even though overall abundance did not change….
2012 Jun 25. Seeking a Profitable Place to Put Captured Carbon. By Matthew L. Wald, The NY Times. Excerpt: Two major oil companies joined by a chemical company and an investment group have invested $9 million in a commercial carbon capture project in Texas that will treat the flue gases from a coal-fired cement kiln and turn them into marketable chemicals. Joe David Jones, the chief executive of Skyonic, emphasized that the plant would be different because it was “non-pump-it-in-the-ground carbon capture.” Most efforts so far have focused on carbon capture and sequestration, which turns the gas into a liquid that is pumped deep underground at a significant energy cost. This process will also cost energy, but he said it would be commercially viable. Commercial recovery of carbon dioxide is rare but not unheard of…But even if the market for sodium bicarbonate, the main product, is small, Mr. Lashof said it was encouraging to see a company try to make money from an activity that could help slow the buildup of climate-changing gases in the atmosphere. The biggest market for captured carbon dioxide is likely to be pumping it into old oil wells to stimulate greater production, which could be on the order of 40 million tons per year, he said….
2012 Apr 25. Warm Ocean Currents Cause Majority of Ice Loss from Antarctica | by NASA, Release 12-126. Excerpt: WASHINGTON — Warm ocean currents attacking the underside of ice shelves are the dominant cause of recent ice loss from Antarctica, a new study using measurements from NASA’s Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) revealed. …researchers concluded that 20 of the 54 ice shelves studied are being melted by warm ocean currents. …”We can lose an awful lot of ice to the sea without ever having summers warm enough to make the snow on top of the glaciers melt,” said the study’s lead author Hamish Pritchard of the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, United Kingdom. “The oceans can do all the work from below. …”Studies have shown Antarctic winds have changed because of changes in climate,” Pritchard said. “This has affected the strength and direction of ocean currents. As a result warm water is funnelled beneath the floating ice. These studies and our new results suggest Antarctica’s glaciers are responding rapidly to a changing climate.” A different picture is seen on the Antarctic Peninsula, the long stretch of land pointing towards South America. The study found thinning of the largest ice shelf on the peninsula can be explained by warm summer winds directly melting the snow on the ice shelf surfaces….
2011 October 17. Warming Revives Dream of Sea Route in Russian Arctic. By Andrew E. Kramer, The NY Times. Excerpt: …Environmental scientists say there is now no doubt that global warming is shrinking the Arctic ice pack, opening new sea lanes and making the few previously navigable routes near shore accessible more months of the year. And whatever the grim environmental repercussions of greenhouse gas, companies in Russia and other countries around the Arctic Ocean are mining that dark cloud’s silver lining by finding new opportunities for commerce and trade….
Oil companies might be the most likely beneficiaries, as the receding polar ice cap opens more of the sea floor to exploration. The oil giant Exxon Mobil recently signed a sweeping deal to drill in the Russian sector of the Arctic Ocean. But shipping, mining and fishing ventures are also looking farther north than ever before….
2011 February 27. Can a group of scientists in California end the war on climate change? By Ian Sample, The Guardian. Excerpt: …[UC Berkeley physicist Richard] Muller calls his latest obsession the Berkeley Earth project. The aim is so simple that the complexity and magnitude of the undertaking is easy to miss. Starting from scratch, with new computer tools and more data than has ever been used, they will arrive at an independent assessment of global warming. The team will also make every piece of data it uses – 1.6bn data points – freely available on a website. It will post its workings alongside, including full information on how more than 100 years of data from thousands of instruments around the world are stitched together to give a historic record of the planet’s temperature….
…”I’ve told the team I don’t know if global warming is more or less than we hear, but I do believe we can get a more precise number, and we can do it in a way that will cool the arguments over climate change, if nothing else,” says Muller….
2009 October 16. Arctic To Be Ice-Free In Summer In 20 Years. By Peter Griffiths, Planet Ark. Excerpt: LONDON – Global warming will leave the Arctic Ocean ice-free during the summer within 20 years, raising sea levels and harming wildlife such as seals and polar bears, a leading British polar scientist said on Thursday.
Peter Wadhams, professor of ocean physics at the University of Cambridge, said much of the melting will take place within a decade, although the winter ice will stay for hundreds of years.
The changes will mean the top of the Earth will appear blue rather than white when photographed from space and ships will have a new sea route north of Russia.
Scientists say evidence of melting Arctic ice is one of the clearest signs of global warming and it should send a warning to world leaders meeting in Copenhagen in December for U.N. talks on a new climate treaty….
Dr Martin Sommerkorn, from the environmental charity WWF’s Arctic program, which worked on the survey, said the predicted loss of ice could have wide-reaching affects around the world.
“The Arctic Sea ice holds a central position in our Earth’s climate system. Take it out of the equation and we are left with a dramatically warmer world,” he said.
“This could lead to flooding affecting one-quarter of the world’s population, substantial increases in greenhouse gas emissions …. and extreme global weather changes.”…
2009 June 29. The Catastrophist—NASA’s Climate Expert Delivers the News No One Wants to Hear. By Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker. [subscription required] Excerpt: A few months ago, James Hansen, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), in Manhattan, joined a protest outside the Capitol Power Plant, in Washington, D.C. Thirty years ago, Hansen, who is sixty-eight, created one of the world’s first climate models, nicknamed Model Zero, which he used to predict most of what has happened in the climate since. Hansen has now concluded, partly on the basis of his latest modeling efforts and partly on the basis of observations made by other scientists, that the threat of global warming is far greater than even he had suspected. Unless immediate action is taken—including the shutdown of all the world’s coal plants within the next two decades—the planet will be committed to climate change on a scale society won’t be able to cope with….
2009 May 4. Climate Change: Halving Carbon Dioxide Emissions By 2050 Could Stabilize Global Warming. ScienceDaily. Excerpt: If CO2 emissions are halved by 2050 compared to 1990, global warming can be stabilised below two degrees. This is shown by two studies by a co-operation of German, Swiss and British researchers in the journal Nature.
To contain global warming, and its risks and consequences, warming compared to pre-industrial times (pre 1900) should not exceed two degrees Celsius. Although, according to the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there is no specific temperature threshold for dangerous climate changes, and the negative effects are gradually increasing, over one hundred countries have adopted this “2°C target”. Scientists have used a new probability model to calculate how much CO2 our atmosphere tolerates under these target specifications. …From 2000 to 2050, a maximum of 1000 billion tonnes of CO2 may be emitted into the atmosphere. Roughly speaking, today, around one third of this wad has already been shot.
“The behaviour of CO2 in the atmosphere is best described as a full bathtub,” says Reo Knutti, professor at the Institute for Atmosphere and Climate at ETH Zurich, and co-author of one of the two studies. The inflow of the bathtub is large, but the drainage is small. The CO2 emissions are increasing every year, but the CO2 is only removed from the atmosphere very slowly. To not let the bathtub overflow, the inflow must thus be stopped early enough. “It is wrong to believe that the temperature will remain constant with constant emissions,” says Knutti….
2008 May 1. In a New Climate Model, Short-Term Cooling in a Warmer World. By ANDREW C. REVKIN, NY Times. Excerpt: After decades of research that sought, and found, evidence of a human influence on the earth’s climate, climatologists are beginning to shift to a new and similarly daunting enterprise: creating decade-long forecasts for climate, just as meteorologists routinely generate weeklong forecasts for weather.
One of the first attempts to look ahead a decade, using computer simulations and measurements of ocean temperatures, predicts a slight cooling of Europe and North America, probably related to shifting currents and patterns in the oceans.
The team … from two German ocean and climate research centers, acknowledged that it was a preliminary effort. But in a short paper … in the May 1 issue of … Nature, they said their modeling method was able to reasonably replicate climate patterns in those regions in recent decades, providing some confidence in their prediction for the next one.
The authors stressed that the pause in warming represented only a temporary blunting of the centuries of rising temperatures that scientists have projected if carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases continue accumulating in the atmosphere.
“We’re learning that internal climate variability is important and can mask the effects of human-induced global change,” said the paper’s lead author, Noel Keenlyside of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in Kiel, Germany. “In the end this gives more confidence in the long-term projections.”
…Other researchers, including NASA scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., reported … that a slowly fluctuating oscillation in Pacific Ocean temperatures had shifted into its cool phase, a condition that is also thought to exert an overall temporary cooling of the climate.
These natural variations can also amplify warming, and that is likely to happen in future decades on and off as well, experts say. …It should also help the public and policy makers understand that a cool phase does not mean the overall theory of human-driven warming is flawed, Dr. Trenberth said.
“Too many think global warming means monotonic relentless warming everywhere year after year,” Dr. Trenberth said. “It does not happen that way.”
2008 March 16. You ask, I provide. November 2nd, 1922. Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt. By Anthony Watts, Watts Up With That? Excerpt: …”A Washington, D.C. resident John Lockwood was conducting research at the Library of Congress and came across an intriguing headline in the Nov. 2, 1922, edition of The Washington Post: ‘Arctic Ocean Getting Warm; Seals Vanish and Icebergs Melt.’
The article mentions ‘great masses of ice have now been replaced by moraines of earth and stones,’ and ‘at many points well-known glaciers have entirely disappeared….'”
[See also a related post on Snopes.com and the original story at the Washington Times.]
2007 October 1. NASA EXAMINES ARCTIC SEA ICE CHANGES LEADING TO RECORD LOW IN 2007. Excerpt: A new NASA-led study found a 23-percent loss in the extent of the Arctic’s thick, year-round sea ice cover during the past two winters. …A team led by Son Nghiem of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., studied trends in Arctic perennial ice cover by combining data from NASA’s Quick Scatterometer (QuikScat) satellite with a computing model based on observations of sea ice drift from the International Arctic Buoy Programme. QuikScat can identify and map different classes of sea ice, including older, thicker perennial ice and younger, thinner seasonal ice. Between winter 2005 and winter 2007, the perennial ice shrunk by an area the size of Texas and California combined.
…Nghiem said the rapid decline in winter perennial ice the past two years was caused by unusual winds. “Unusual atmospheric conditions set up wind patterns that compressed the sea ice, loaded it into the Transpolar Drift Stream and then sped its flow out of the Arctic,” he said. When that sea ice reached lower latitudes, it rapidly melted in the warmer waters.
“The winds causing this trend in ice reduction were set up by an unusual pattern of atmospheric pressure that began at the beginning of this century,” Nghiem said.
…For more information, visit:
2007 May 17. Polar ocean ‘soaking up less CO2’. By Paul Rincon Science reporter, BBC News. Excerpt: The Southern Ocean is an important natural carbon sink…. One of Earth’s most important absorbers of carbon dioxide (CO2) is failing to soak up as much of the greenhouse gas as it was expected to, scientists say. The decline of Antarctica’s Southern Ocean carbon “sink” – or reservoir – means that atmospheric CO2 levels may be higher in future than predicted….There are two major natural carbon sinks: the oceans and the land “biosphere”. They are equivalent in size, each absorbing a quarter of all CO2 emissions. The Southern Ocean is thought to account for about 15% of all carbon sinks….Lead researcher Corinne Le Quere [University of East Anglia] and colleagues collected atmospheric CO2 data from 11 stations in the Southern Ocean and 40 stations across the globe. …”Ever since observations started in 1981, we see that the sinks have not increased [in their absorption of CO2],” Corinne LeQuere told the BBC’s Science in Action programme. “They have remained the same as they were 24 years ago even though the emissions have risen by 40%.” The cause of the decline in the Southern Ocean sink, the researchers explain, is a rise in windiness since 1958. …Oceans store much of their CO2 in deep waters. But, explained Dr Le Quere, “as the winds increase, the water in the ocean mixes more”. The British Antarctic Survey (BAS) scientist added: “The CO2 that would normally be in the deep ocean and would just stay there instead gets brought up to the surface and outgasses to the atmosphere.” The ocean surface becomes saturated with CO2 and cannot take up any more from the atmosphere…..
2007 April 9. Foundation to Offer $100 Million to Deal With Global Warming. By STEVE LOHR. NY Times. Excerpt: The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is creating a $100 million program to support research intended to encourage policies aimed at reducing the threat of global warming. The foundation’s climate change project, which is being announced today, comes amid an increasing political push for legislation to curb emissions of carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels like coal, natural gas and gasoline. Several bills that would set mandatory restrictions on emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, have been introduced in Congress. Other clean-energy bills under consideration are intended to increase the use of renewable energy and promote energy efficiency. Most of the presidential hopefuls for 2008 have proposals to deal with climate change. …Homes, offices and power plants, Mr. Bowman noted, often last for 50 or 60 years. “We have to do everything we can to make sure we deploy the most efficient technologies that we can over the next five and ten years to prevent having an economy that is locked in to a really inefficient infrastructure,” he said….
2007 March 19. NASA FINDS SUN-CLIMATE CONNECTION IN OLD NILE RECORDS. Earth Observatory. Long-term climate records are a key to understanding how Earth’s climate changed in the past and how it may change in the future. Direct measurements of light energy emitted by the sun, taken by satellites and other modern scientific techniques, suggest variations in the sun’s activity influence Earth’s long-term climate. However, there were no measured climate records of this type until the relatively recent scientific past. …a group of NASA and university scientists has found a convincing link between long-term solar and climate variability in a unique and unexpected source: directly measured ancient water level records of the Nile, Earth’s longest river. Alexander Ruzmaikin and Joan Feynman of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, … together with Dr. Yuk Yung of the California Institute of Technology, … have analyzed Egyptian records of annual Nile water levels collected between 622 and 1470 A.D. at Rawdah Island in Cairo. These records were then compared to another well-documented human record from the same time period: observations of the number of auroras reported per decade in the Northern Hemisphere. …They are an excellent means of tracking variations in the sun’s activity. Feynman said … “Since the time of the pharaohs, the water levels of the Nile were accurately measured, since they were critically important for agriculture and the preservation of temples in Egypt,” …The researchers found some clear links between the sun’s activity and climate variations. The Nile water levels and aurora records had two somewhat regularly occurring variations in common – one with a period of about 88 years and the second with a period of about 200 years. … what causes these cyclical links between solar variability and the Nile? The authors suggest that variations in the sun’s ultraviolet energy cause adjustments in a climate pattern called the Northern Annular Mode, which affects climate in the atmosphere of the Northern Hemisphere during the winter. At sea level, this mode becomes the North Atlantic Oscillation, a large-scale seesaw in atmospheric mass that affects how air circulates over the Atlantic Ocean.
2007 March. The Discovery of Global Warming. By Spencer Weart. Extensive web pages on history of the discovery of global warming based on book published in June 2006. Hosted at American Institute of Physics website: http://www.aip.org/.
2006 September. Global Warming – Vanishing Glaciers. AAA Via Magazine. Climate change is starting to make its mark on some popular travel spots. The ice fields of the West are especially feeling the heat. By Deborah Franklin. … visitors to Alaska have begun to notice … An estimated 95 percent of the state’s glaciers, like most around the world, are receding. Where a few decades ago there were blankets of ice, now hundreds of feet or even miles of bare rock are exposed. …For nonscientists, the most compelling part of Dan Fagre’s research in Glacier National Park may be his album of photographs taken by tourists, a graphic record of glaciers melting across a century. Even before famed conservationist and ornithologist George Bird Grinnell proclaimed the northern Rockies the “crown of the continent” and urged Congress to establish the park in the early 1900s, the Great Northern Railway was delivering awestruck Easterners to the region’s doorstep. …By comparing the photographs those early hikers took with recent pictures taken at the same spots today, Fagre and his colleagues now have an amazingly rich record of climate change throughout the park. The transformation the images reveal is astounding: Sperry, Grinnell, Jackson, and other glaciers, now well on their way to becoming slushy snowfields and lakes, were once powerful symbols of might, as stirring as any Alaskan wall of ice today.
2006 September. Global Warming – Rising Tides. AAA Via Magazine, By Thomas Swick. … Donald Flinn… was vice president of operations for Klondike Star Mineral Corporation in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory. “In winter it always used to go below minus 40. Now it rarely does. The glaciers are melting. There’s the loss of the permafrost.” …Rarotonga is the largest of the 15 tiny land masses known as the Cook Islands, a self-governing nation in free association with New Zealand. …Coral bleaching has been extensive, the result of stress caused by several factors: pollution (sewage and sediment run into the lagoons), natural predators (such as the crown- of-thorns starfish), cyclones (which damage the ocean side of the reefs), and rising sea temperatures. These warmer temperatures also cause water to expand, which inevitably leads to rising sea levels. This, coupled with additional runoff from the melting ice caps, is a volatile one-two punch for coastal areas. Some uninhabited islands in the nations of Tuvalu and Kiribati have already vanished. Even people on islands safe from submersion may find it difficult to live on them. In some places, salt water has intruded into groundwater supplies and residents have fled to higher ground….
2006 July 17. The Messenger. Technology Review. Excerpt: …Jim Hansen may be the most respected climate scientist in the world. He’s been director of NASA’s premier climate research center, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), for 25 years and a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for 10. And he more or less single-handedly turned global warming into an international issue one sweltering June day in 1988, when he told a group of reporters in a hearing room, just after testifying to a Senate committee, “It’s time to stop waffling so much and say that the greenhouse effect is here and is affecting our climate now.”
…An attempt by the Bush administration to silence him early this year also helped turn global warming into one of the biggest news stories of 2006. It began on December 6, 2005, when Hansen declared in a talk at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco that if our rate of fossil fuel burning continues to grow, we will eventually transform Earth into “a different planet.” He presented an analysis showing that existing technologies can significantly cut greenhouse emissions, and suggested that a global solution requires leadership by the United States.n On December 15, he and three colleagues posted a routine monthly analysis on the GISS website, summarizing data from thousands of weather stations around the globe. It showed that 2005 was coming in as the warmest year since the mid-1800s. He was interviewed about this by ABC News. …He says he’s been muzzled before — during the Reagan and first Bush administrations — but that in more than three decades as a government employee, he has seen nothing to equal the recent clampdown. He is angry, but he expresses his anger calmly.
…More than 20 years ago, Hansen also explained why global warming has lagged the greenhouse buildup. In 1985, he suggested that it should take between 50 and 100 years for the excess energy reaching the planetary surface to have its full effect on temperature, because the energy will first go to heating the oceans; only when they begin to warm will the atmosphere follow suit. Just last year, when studies demonstrating a global rise in ocean temperatures confirmed his thinking, Hansen began referring to the heating of the oceans as the “smoking gun” of global warming.
… In 1990, Hansen and Lacis showed that traditional air pollution has produced a mighty parasol effect. We send dust and aerosols into the air from tailpipes and smokestacks, by burning the wood and dung that provide heat and light to hundreds of millions of the world’s very poor, and through slash-and-burn agriculture and other land use practices that have exposed vast tracts of dried-out, eroded soil to the blowing wind. The dimming of incident sunlight caused by reflection from these airborne particles now offsets about half the warming of the industrial age. To continue offsetting our growing greenhouse emissions, we would have to maintain the rapid growth of traditional, noxious air pollution. But the United States and Europe have begun controlling it, and the dismal air quality in Beijing and Mumbai is convincing the Chinese and Indians that they must, too.
…Hansen continues to believe we can forestall disaster. …Though he warned that carbon dioxide emissions must be stabilized over the next few decades, he also suggested that significant progress could be made by reducing the emissions of other greenhouse gases, particularly methane and ozone…. …growing emissions from coal-burning power plants and transportation posed the greatest threats. … Hansen says that if we continue to increase greenhouse-gas emissions, temperatures will rise between 2 and 3 ¼C this century, making Earth as warm as it was three million years ago, when seas were between 15 and 35 meters higher than they are today….
2006 June 23. The World Is Hot. By Thomas L. Friedman, The NY Times. Excerpt: In a developing country like Peru, where many people live on the land and close to the edge, climate change is neither a hobby nor a question for debate. …It’s a daily reality, particularly for the residents in the spectacular Urubamba River Valley, the birthplace of Incan civilization. Watching the sun rise from atop the Incan ruins at Machu Picchu, you can look around 360 degrees and see Andean mountains everywhere. The highest of them were always described in the guidebooks as “snow capped.” Today, they’re more “snow frosted.” They still have snow, but there is a lot of rock now showing through on many of them. If these trends continue, in a few years they’ll just be described as “steely gray.” The great Andean glaciers are melting, receding at about 100 meters a decade. …Nearby, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Jose Ignacio Lambarri, who owns a 60-acre farm, is also feeling the heat. He grows giant white corn, with kernels that used to be as big as a quarter. This corn, which is exported to Spain and Japan, grows in this valley because of a unique combination of water, temperature, soil and sun. But four years ago, Mr. Lambarri told me, he started to notice something: “The water level is going down, and the temperature is going up.” As a result, the giant corn kernels are not growing quite as large as they used to, new pests have started appearing, and there is no longer enough water to plant the terraces in the valley that date from Incan times. He also noticed that the snow line he had grown up looking at for 44 years was starting to recede, which was making relations with his fellow farmers more difficult. Every year they decide by committee how to divide up the water. Now, “every year the meetings get more heated, because there is less water to distribute and the same amount of land that needs it,” he said. “I tell my wife the day that mountain loses its snow, we will have to move out of the valley.”….
2006 March. Understanding and Responding to Climate Change – Highlights of National Academies Reports
2006 January 24. 2005 Was the Warmest Year in a Century. The year 2005 may have been the warmest year in a century, according to NASA scientists studying temperature data from around the world.
17 February 2005. Scripps Researchers Find Clear Evidence of Human-Produced Warming in World’s Oceans. Scripps News release. Excerpt:Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, and their colleagues have produced the first clear evidence of human-produced warming in the world’s oceans, a finding they say removes much of the uncertainty associated with debates about global warming.
In a new study conducted with colleagues at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison (PCMDI),Tim Barnett and David Pierce of Scripps Institution used a combination of computer models and real-world “observed” data to capture signals of the penetration of greenhouse gas-influenced warming in the oceans. The authors make the case that their results clearly indicate that the warming is produced anthropogenically, or by human activities.
“This is perhaps the most compelling evidence yet that global warming is happening right now and it shows that we can successfully simulate its past and likely future evolution,” said Tim Barnett, a research marine physicist in the Climate Research Division at Scripps. Barnett says he was “stunned” by the results because the computer models reproduced the penetration of the warming signal in all the oceans. “The statistical significance of these results is far too strong to be merely dismissed and should wipe out much of the uncertainty about the reality of global warming.”
…In the new study, Barnett and his colleagues used computer models of climate to calculate human-produced warming over the last 40 years in the world’s oceans. In all of the ocean basins, the warming signal found in the upper 700 meters predicted by the models corresponded to the measurements obtained at sea with confidence exceeding 95 percent. The correspondence was especially strong in the upper 500 meters of the water column….
25 January 2005. Antarctica, Warming, Looks Ever More Vulnerable. By Larry Rohter. OVER THE ABBOTT ICE SHELF, Antarctica – From an airplane at 500 feet, all that is visible here is a vast white emptiness. Ahead, a chalky plain stretches as far as the eye can see, the monotony broken only by a few gentle rises and the wrinkles created when new sheets of ice form. Under the surface of that ice, though, profound and potentially troubling changes are taking place, and at a quickened pace. With temperatures climbing in parts of Antarctica in recent years, melt water seems to be penetrating deeper and deeper into ice crevices, weakening immense and seemingly impregnable formations that have developed over thousands of years. As a result, huge glaciers in this and other remote areas of Antarctica are thinning and ice shelves the size of American states are either disintegrating or retreating – all possible indications of global warming. Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey reported in December that in some parts of the Antarctic Peninsula hundreds of miles from here, large growths of grass are appearing in places that until recently were hidden under a frozen cloak…. Glaciologists also know that by itself, free-floating sea ice does not raise the level of the sea, just as an ice cube in a glass of water does not cause an overflow as it melts. But glaciers are different because they rest on land, and if that vast volume of ice slides into the sea at a high rate, this adds mass to the ocean, which in turn can raise the global sea level…. In 1995 … the Larsen A ice shelf disintegrated, followed in 1998 by the collapse of the nearby Wilkins ice shelf. Over a 35-day period early in 2002, at the end of the Southern Hemisphere summer, the Larsen B ice shelf shattered, losing more than a quarter of its total mass and setting thousands of icebergs adrift in the Weddell Sea.
21 September 2004. NASA RELEASE : 04-302 Glaciers Surge When Ice Shelf Breaks Up. Since 2002, when the Larsen B ice shelf broke away from the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, scientists have witnessed profound increases in the flow of nearby glaciers into the Weddell Sea. These observations were made possible through NASA, Canadian and European satellite data.
August 2004. Satellite-Observed Changes in the Arctic. Physics Today, Volume 57, Number 8. Josefino C. Comiso and Claire L. Parkinson. The Arctic has warmed by about 1°C in the past two decades. That time period has seen glaciers retreat, permafrost thaw, snow cover decrease, and ice sheets thin –
8 June 2004. NY Times: A Big Melt. By HENRY FOUNTAIN. If global warming has the potential for making over the planet, then what happened at the dawn of the Eocene epoch 55 million years ago may best be described as an extreme makeover. That is when a rapid influx of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere caused average temperatures to increase by close to 15 degrees Fahrenheit over 200,000 years.
23 October 2003. Recent Warming Of Arctic May Affect Worldwide Climate, NASA RELEASE: 03-340. Recently observed change in Arctic temperatures and sea ice cover may be a harbinger of global climate changes to come, according to a recent NASA study…. The Arctic warming study, appearing in the November 1 issue of the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate, shows that compared to the 1980s, most of the Arctic warmed significantly over the last decade, with the biggest temperature increases occurring over North America…. Researchers have suspected loss of Arctic sea ice may be caused by changing atmospheric pressure patterns over the Arctic that move sea ice around, and by warming Arctic temperatures that result from greenhouse gas buildup in the atmosphere…. According to Comiso’s study, when compared to longer term ground-based surface temperature data, the rate of warming in the Arctic over the last 20 years is eight times the rate of warming over the last 100 years. …. The surface temperature records covering from 1981 to 2001 were obtained through thermal infrared data from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellites.
6 December 2002. Climate change may be cause of Earth’s equatorial bulge. NASA Research Offers Explanation for Earth’s Bulging Waistline . A team of researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and the Royal Observatory of Belgium has apparently solved a recently observed mystery regarding changes to the physical shape of Earth and its gravity field. The answer, they found, appears to lie in the melting of sub-polar glaciers and mass shifts in the Southern, Pacific and Indian Oceans associated with global-scale climate changes.
17 September 2002. NASA SCIENTISTS USE SATELLITES TO DISTINGUISH HUMAN POLLUTION FROM OTHER ATMOSPHERIC PARTICLES.Excerpt: Driven by precise new satellite measurements and sophisticated new computer models, a team of NASA researchers is now routinely producing the first global maps of fine aerosols that distinguish plumes of human-produced particulate pollution from natural aerosols…
2 August 2002. Earth’s girth grows — (www.nature.com) Our planet’s waistline is mysteriously increasing. by TOM CLARKE. © NASA. After 18,000 years of slimming, our planet has suddenly turned tubby round the middle. Researchers are baffled by the bulge. … accurate measurements of satellite orbits, made using lasers in the 1980s, revealed that the Earth was, in fact, becoming gradually more spherical. As the ice caps melted after the most recent ice age, their weight was removed from the poles – the poles were rising back to their original position after millennia under pressure. At least, they were until 1998. For the past four years the slimming has reversed, say Christopher Cox at Raytheon, a research and technology company in Lanham, Maryland, and Benjamin Chao at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, also in Maryland.
5 November 2001. SATELLITES SHED LIGHT ON A WARMER WORLD. While winter may be approaching, researchers using data from satellites and weather stations around the world have found the air temperature near the Earth’s surface has warmed on average by 1 degree F (0.6 degree C) globally over the last century, and they cite human influence as at least a partial cause. Dr. James Hansen of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, and Marc Imhoff of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., along with several other researchers analyzed records for 7,200 global weather stations and used satellite observations of nighttime lights around the planet to identify stations with minimal local human influence. Their findings appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres.
23 April 2001 — GREENHOUSE GASES CAUSE NORTHERN WINTER WARMING. Greenhouse gases are the main reason why the Northern Hemisphere is warming quicker during wintertime months than the rest of the world. New climate model results published by NASA scientists in the April 16th issue of the Journal of Geophysical Research show that greenhouse gases increase the strength of the polar winds that regulate northern hemisphere climate in winter.
AAAS Resources on Climate Change
Bathtub Models of Climate Change:
•Climate Bathtub Animation
•Bathtub Dynamics & Climate
•The Big Idea (National Geographic)
Climate Central – U.S. Temperature Trends (The Heat Is On) – http://www.climatecentral.org/news/the-heat-is-on/
Exploratorium’s climate site
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) — Global Warming Site
Skepticism about effects of global warming
- Lecture by Dr. Arthur Robinson of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM)
- Steven Russo — Articles on the Myth of Global Warming
Global Warming – Beyond a Reasonable Doubt? – The Why Files, a WWW site that explains the science behind the news, recently posted this feature article that gives an overview of current research and findings related to global warming.
Global Warming: Early Warning Signs – an interactive map of the world that gives examples of effects of global warming on certain locales.
Climate Change Education.org
Recent papers by
James Hansen and
The Greenhouse Effect. Interactive Simulation from University of Colorado.
World View of Global WarmingPhotographic documentation of climate change
Everything you need to know about climate change: interactive at the Guardian website.