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Current Global Warming Basics

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Here is a summary of the basic impacts of global warming on our biosphere.  I present here the quick view.  More discussion at that site.

Atmospheric Temperatures

Here’s the global average temperature each month from January 1880 through January 2016, according to data from NASA:

The red dot marks the most recent value, January 2016. It’s the hottest yet.
Here is the secular trend:

I have discussed measuring the trend from 1998 to present here and here.  There can be no question atmospheric temperatures and rising.

NASA isn’t the only organization that tracks global temperature. There’s also the National Climate Data Center, the Hadley Centre/Climate Research Unit in the U.K., a modified form from the Univ. of York in the U.K., independent data from a team organized by researchers from Berkeley Univ. in California, and the Japan Meteorological Agency, just to name the best-known. It would be redundant to show you data from all these organizations, because they all tell the same story: l…

Rising Sea Levels Will Vary Across The Planet

The climate talks in Bonn aren't going that well.
After declaring that “climate change is an issue determining our destiny as mankind,” Ms. Merkel acknowledged that Germany was likely to miss the goals it had set itself for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 because of its continued reliance on coal power. While vowing to grapple with the issue, she said that phasing out coal use would require “tough discussions” with German policymakers in the weeks ahead.The goal has been no more than a two degrees Celsius increase in atmospheric temperature.  But that goal may be unattainable.
To stay below 2 degrees Celsius of warming, global emissions would likely have to peak in the next few years and then be cut by half every decade all the way down to zero by midcentury.But that's not likely to happen


The scale of that transition is staggering. Virtually every coal plant around the world would need to be phased out or outfitted with carbon capture technology within decades. Electri…

Get Used To It

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Kiss The Good Times Goodbye.I
It saddens me to say it, but we are approaching the end of the automotive era. The auto industry is on an accelerating change curve. For hundreds of years, the horse was the prime mover of humans and for the past 120 years it has been the automobile.  At the end of of the last century, people were congregating in cities and they could not accommodate the piles of horse excrement in the streets.  And automobiles came into existence and rescued the cities from horses.  That was bad for stables and manufacturers of  horse carriages, but good for the next century.

Well we are at another critical juncture, the end of the gasoline powered automobiles.  Get used to it.

New Record CO2 Concentration in Atmosphere

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Greenhouse gas concentrations surge to new record

Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surged at a record-breaking speed in 2016 to the highest level in 800 000 years, according to the World Meteorological Organization's Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. The abrupt changes in the atmosphere witnessed in the past 70 years are without precedent.  Globally averaged concentrations of CO2 reached 403.3 parts per million in 2016, up from 400.00 ppm in 2015 because of a combination of human activities and a strong El NiƱo event. Concentrations of CO2 are now 145% of pre-industrial (before 1750) levels, according to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. [....]
The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago, the temperature was 2-3°C warmer and sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now. And we are nowhere near slowing it down.  So 2-3°C and 10-20 meters higher sea level is basically the minimum we can expect.

Insect Armageddon

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Insect Armageddon There is alarming new evidence that insect populations worldwide are in rapid decline. As Prof. Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex, a co-author of a new insect study, put it, we are “on course for ecological Armageddon” because “if we lose the insects, then everything is going to collapse.” This "ecological Armageddon" is apparently not due to climate change, though still due to human actions.

The study, which tracked flying insects collected in nature preserves across Germany, found that in just 25 years, the total biomass of these insects declined by an astonishing 76 percent. The reasons for the decline are not entirely clear — and only flying insects were collected, so the fate of crawling insects, for example, is not known — but the scientists suspect two main culprits: the use of pesticides and a lack of habitat in surrounding farmland. While not more evidence for climate change, it nevertheless has important implications for what life will be l…

The Gulf of Los Angeles

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I posted yesterday about a possible tipping point in melting ice on the Antarctic and Greenland, and the danger that the rise in the sea level may be abrupt.  Today we have some confirmation about the Antarctic ice:

Warm waters melting Antarctic ice shelves have appeared for the first time in over 7,000 years
The ocean surrounding Antarctica is extremely cold, but water over 300m deep, Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW), is about 3⁰C above the melting point of ice. Normally, the very cold water above keeps this away from ice shelves. But in some areas, CDW is spilling onto the shallow Antarctic continental shelf, causing the ice to thin. Ice shelf thinning has accelerated in recent decades, but the picture is not the same everywhere. While the east of the Antarctic has shown modest gains in ice thickness, the west has outstripped this with significant ice loss – up to 18% in vulnerable areas like the Amundsen and Bellingshausen Seas. The pattern of ice loss and other observations indicate th…

Sea Levels Have Risen Abruptly In The Past

I've said in the past that sea levels are likely to be the first real climate change event that gets everyone's attention. 

Old reefs hold the tale of past sea-level rise, and … it’s dramatic. Toward the end of the last ice age, about 19,000 years ago, the sea rose in several large spurts, according to a new study of coral reefs that grew during this period. This contradicts assumptions that sea level rises gradually. Instead, coral fossils show sudden inundations followed by quieter periods. This offers new information that supports the theory that glaciers and ice sheets have “tipping points” that cause their sudden collapse along with a sudden increase in sea level. I've talked about sea levels before.  But this new study revises the opinions of scientists that this increase will likely be gradual.  But the historical analysis of coral reefs suggests that the sea level may rise abruptly.  And there are scientists who believe that Greenland may be at or past its tipping p…

Climate Change Activists Being Let Off On Necessity Defense

This is basically Chapter Two in my novel, Diary of the Last Age, though the characters in my novel were doing something quite different, destroying oil fields by inoculating them with an oil-eating bacteria (which interestingly does exist but mainly to clean up oil spills).  What I describe in that novel about "alarmists" taking it to the oil companies is apparently happening, and their activities are being legally justified.

Judge Allows 'Necessity' Defense by Climate Activists in Oil Pipeline Protest

"What we are seeing in some courts is there is such frustration at the failure of the executive and legislative branches to act on climate change that some courts are becoming willing to step in,"A Minnesota judge ruled that three activists charged with felonies can argue they had no legal alternative to protect citizens from climate change impacts. 
A judge in Minnesota has cleared the way for an unusual and potentially groundbreaking defense, allowing climat…