Showing posts from February, 2015

Global Warming Should Matter Most To Young People

But are they getting any information about it?   Global warming shouldn't be an controversial issue. Young people should be apprised of what the future world they will inherit may be like.  They should be allowed to express the concerns.  In my view there should be demonstrations and activist groups of young people bringing this to the attention of their political representatives.  But that is not happening.

In my day when I was in high school, the latter 50's, civil rights was controversial but there was no one keeping us from expressing our opinions on this topic, or from learning about it in school.  In school there was no requirement for "teaching the controversy", i.e., presenting positions in opposition to civil rights.  Nor were there any parents upset about this.  I'll have to say, though, that where my wife Jan grew up, South Carolina, it was a very different story.

But now, the study of climate change in high school is very controversial in most school…

New Research Results on Ocean Temperatures

The global temperature over the last 15 years or so has slowed down providing an opening for people denying global warming to post claims that the planet is not warming.  By going back to 1998, a record year due to an El Nino (and not to greenhouse gases) denialists have attempted to show that the global temperature is actually declining.  This attempt however is classic lying with statistics called "cherry picking".

Global temperatures have slowed though.  As I've discussed before this has to do with ocean temperatures.  In fact any discussion of global temperatures should be about the biosphere, i.e., both atmospheric and ocean temperatures.  In my earlier discussion, more heat was being absorbed by the ocean effectively slowing down the absorption in the atmosphere.  As described here, new results are now showing that:

Using temperature readings going back to the 1880s and IPCC climate models, the researchers determined that the timing of two large ocean cycles — the …

Carbon Dioxide And Greenhouse Effect

Update:  Science News reports on a study with additional confirmation of the effects of anthropocentric CO2.

It is customary for global warming denialists to claim there is no basis for the greenhouse effect. However,
The impacts of CO2 on radiative transfer have been studied since the 1860s, and modern spectroscopic databases date to Air Force calculations for heat seeking missiles in the 1950s and have been validated by an enormous number of observations, both in situ and via remote sensing. The vertical fingerprint of the impact of increasing CO2 (warming troposphere, cooling stratosphere) was calculated in 1967 by Manabe and Wetherald decades before it was observed.This fact must give us pause.  There are a variety of factors affecting the global climate, but one of them, the concentration of CO2 in the biosphere has an inevitable implication, dire consequences if the concentration continues to rise, which it will if nothing is done.  There is a lot a person must deal with in one&#…

Threat from Ocean Acidification

A new report published in Nature delineates the threat from ocean acidification described here.  I've posted about the threat to Maine, and here and here about the Pacific Northwest where I live.  As I described

 We have an historical event showing us what happens when the CO2 concentration accelerates, the PETM boundary, the Paleoeocene-Eocene Boundary,  where 55.8 million years ago, the oceans and atmosphere were filled with greenhouse gases over a very short period of time. 

The ocean acidification at that time caused the largest loss of sea life in the history of the planet.  We are heading for something even worse.

NY Times reports that Dr. Soon Profits From Global Warming Denial

Update:  In addition to the conflict of interest issue, RealClimate shows how wrong Soon is about our climate being driven mostly by the sun.

One of the favorite denialist arguments is that the climate scientists who accept the evidence for catastrophic global warming have a conflict of interest, that they are raking in large amounts of money from the government for their research.  They are arguing that the true motive of these scientists is to make money and that they have to believe in global warming to make that happen, to get that government largesse.

To believe that argument, they have to misunderstand how the process works.  These researchers are getting money for assistantships, computer time, and equipment for data gathering.  Their university salaries are often replaced in part by the government grants, but they aren't making any more personal money than if they were to pursue some other line of enquiry.  Bottom line: they aren't getting rich off this research.  Thei…

Global Warming Has Serious Implications For The Food We Eat

Jan and I have been serious cooks for 40 years, going back to our encounters with James Beard's, Irma Rombauer's, Madhur Jaffrey's, and Julia Child's cookbooks.  My signature dish is beef short ribs, simmered for hours in wine, stock and vegetables, and for Christmas day dinner, a beef Wellington, a filet mignon smothered in duxelles, pate, and baked in a puff pastry shell.  At our dinner parties we always loved to show off our skill with vegetables, but the meat was the star. 

Unfortunately for our grand and great-grand children this type of fare will only be a distant memory.  It takes a lot of grain to produce a pound of meat, but the real problem is that the grain for animals, not really grain humans want to eat, competes with acreage required for grain for human consumption.  As global warming eradicates land used for agriculture, a choice will have to be made between producing grain for humans or for animals.  The problem is that animals will feed far fewer peop…

The Greenhouse Effect

The greenhouse effect has been known for 190 years.
The existence of the greenhouse effect was argued for by Joseph Fourier in 1824. The argument and the evidence was further strengthened by Claude Pouillet in 1827 and 1838, and reasoned from experimental observations by John Tyndall in 1859, and more fully quantified by Svante Arrhenius in 1896.  In 1917 Alexander Graham Bell wrote “[The unchecked burning of fossil fuels] would have a sort of greenhouse effect”, and “The net result is the greenhouse becomes a sort of hot-house.”[ Bell went on to also advocate for the use of alternate energy sources, such as solar energy. An important issue though is what the sensitivity of global temperatures is to the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, that is, what temperature can we expect given a certain amount of atmospheric CO2.  A study has just been published that provides some evidence.  In non-technical terms
[I]t comes, of all places, from a set of tiny microorganisms, pres…

Cold Northeast, Warm Northwest and Alaska

The Iditarod for only the second time in its history is being forced to move the route due to a lack of snow and warm temperatures.

Over the past 50 years, wintertime temperatures across Alaska increased by an average of more than 6.3 degrees, due to man-made climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency reports. Overall, Alaska's temperatures are rising twice as fast as those in the lower 48 states.
And as I've reported it's Spring in the Pacific Northwest.  But fierce cold and blizzards are bludgeoning the Northeast.  What is going on?  The Jet Stream.  And a warming Arctic.  A study demonstrates that it is due to a stalled jet stream which is bringing cold, wet air from further north down into the Eastern U.S.  This is likely to happen every year until global warming warms the atmosphere sufficiently that it becomes all rain.  Eventually  it will turn into an annual monsoon in the Northeast.  At least it won't be a mega-drought like the Southwest.

Unusual Weather

In the Northeast there may be record amounts of snow and cold, but here in the Pacific Northwest we're having an unusually warm winter.  This has been one of the worst years for skiing in the Cascades.  And the plum trees and the camellias are in full bloom, the hydrangeas and roses are leafing, and the exotic flowers of our Japanese Magnolia are emerging. 

And I spotted a bumblebee, and a mosquito.  Spring is here!  And in the middle of February!  Spring arrived early last year as well and so we have a trend, one that is predicted by global warming.

How could this be while the Northeast is swept by blizzard after blizzard?  Weather isn't climate, and the implications of this weather for climate change hasn't been worked out by scientists, so we don't have an expert opinion at this time.  However, it's not hard to see what is happening -- jet stream behavior altered by global warming.   The unusual cold and snow in the Northeast doesn't mean that it is unusual…

Western American Mega-Drought Ahead

A new study provides evidence for an American mega-drought.

We are talking about extreme drought conditions that will extend from the Mississippi River to California that will last for thirty, forty or more years, literally leave our highly populated, water dependent society in uncharted territory, threatening our civilization's ability to adapt to what will be  a radically altered future environmen Imagine what the water situation will look like in 2075?  Depleted groundwater, decimated agriculture, irreparable damage to ecological habitat. Think apocalypse.” 

John L. Case's Views Spread Like....

It would be indecorous of me to finish that phrase, especially since my grandchildren (hopefully) read my posts.  But I mean what is elided.  It is amazing how someone's claims, bogus as they are, can sweep through the denial cybersphere which interestingly is nearly all very conservative politically.  This union of conservative politics and global warming denial is interesting in itself and will be the subject of another post.

But here we're going to discuss John L. Casey and his, admittedly sophisticated but nevertheless bogus, case for planetary coolingHe is a "former White House space program advisor, consultant to NASA Headquarters, and space shuttle engineer", and self-described "America’s most successful climate change researchers and climate prediction experts".   That last claim, however, is unsupported.   His argument falls apart at once:

So, what is Casey's claim to fame in the realm of climatology? …

Ocean Acidification is Urgent Threat to Maine's Marine Economy

A Maine Report warns of a threat of ocean acidification to their marine life.  CO2 is being absorbed by the oceans as well as by the atmosphere.  The result for the oceans is acidification.  A similar acidification of the oceans occurred during the Paleocene/Eocene boundary resulting in the largest loss of sealife in the history of our planet. 

The report, released Thursday by a commission charged with studying the impacts ocean acidification has on Maine’s marine environment creatures — including lucrative lobsters and other crustaceans — states that, for Maine and its seafood industry, addressing ocean acidification is an “urgent” matter.

The problem is that without immediately doing something about the CO2 being poured into the biosphere at this time, it will be too late.  It is probably already too late.

The commission spells out six goals in the report that Maine should meet if it wants to seriously address ocean acidification. The first is to invest in more research on ocean ac…