Showing posts from 2016

Arctic Temperatures

My initial start on global warming was due to the work of climate scientists in the 90's.  But one event had a very large impression on me, the Paleocene/Eocene Boundary Thermal Maximum.  At this time 56 million years ago, methane and carbon dioxide bubbled up out of the ocean dramatically increasing atmospheric temperature and acidifying the oceans producing the largest loss of sea life in the history of the planet.  One striking feature of this time was dramatic warming of the Arctic where daytime summer temperatures reached 75 degrees Fahrenheit.  The climate was tropical as far north as Oregon.

It was another 200,000 years before the planet completely recovered from this.  But the most frightening thing is that we are pouring 10 times the greenhouse gases into the atmosphere than what happened then.  And look what is happening to the Arctic.

Spiking Temperatures in the Arctic Startle Scientists

In mid-November, parts of the Arctic were more than 35 degrees Fahrenheit warmer tha…

Categorical Evidence of Climate Change

A new study published in Nature Geoscience present retreating glaciers as categorical evidence of climate change.
Using only meteorological and glacier observations, and the characteristic decadal response time of glaciers, we demonstrate that observed retreats of individual glaciers represent some of the highest signal-to-noise ratios of climate change yet documented. Therefore, in many places, the centennial-scale retreat of the local glaciers does indeed constitute categorical evidence of climate change. Discussion can be found here and here.
Using records of glacier length that go back over 400 years, the researchers show that shrinking of mountain glaciers in five continents could almost certainly not have happened if the Earth wasn’t warming up.Here is an interactive map.
Using the long-term records, the researchers estimated how glacier lengths have varied in response to the yearly ups and downs of temperature and snowfall. They then compared these natural fluctuations with the …

What Can We Do? What Must We Do?

Let's compare two scientific studies, one seized upon the climate deniers and another by climate scientists.  The climate denier uses a study (not yet published) showing that some of what looks like increasing sea level is actually land subsidence. These results look good, local overuse of underground water has lowered coastal land causing seawater to rise locally.
At least for the Chesapeake region, Houston-Galveston, Texas area, Santa Clara Valley, California and other places around the globe, the primary cause of seawater intrusions is not rising oceans – but land subsidence due to groundwater withdrawal from subsurface shale and sandstone formations. He fails to mention Florida, New Orleans, or the Arctic Coast in Alaska.

Now let's look at a climate change article.
In a massive new study published Wednesday in the influential journal Nature, no less than 50 authors from around the world document a so-called climate system “feedback” that, they say, could make global war…

Global Warming Discombobulates Polar Vortex

An ironic effect of global warming is that while the Arctic warms, the cold air that's usually there is headed south.  Alaska will have record warm temperatures while the Pacific Northwest experiences record cold. Then later it will switch around with the Pacific Northwest getting the warm temperature, and the East Coast getting the brutal cold.

Siberian air Will Blow to U.S. as Polar Vortex Breaks Down & Jet Stream Crosses North

Something is wrong in the Arctic. Winter just can’t establish itself over the Arctic ocean. In late November cold air finally started to build up over the American side of the Arctic ocean but now crazy jet stream winds are blowing all the way from subtropical waters east of Japan across Siberia, cross the Arctic ocean and into western north America. The Arctic just can’t hold in its cold air in this fall. The polar vortex that had strengthened over the Arctic ocean north of Alaska is going to be replaced by a dome of warm air that will be almost summe…

Climate Change Denial: Official White House Policy

Priebus confirms that climate denial will be the official policy of Trump’s administration

It is set in stone, the official Trump position is denial.  
And not to be left behind, the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, tweeted
Sci,Space,&Tech Cmte
.@BreitbartNews: Global Temperatures Plunge. Icy Silence from Climate Alarmists
That's supposed to hurt, I guess.  However, all it does is reveal their ignorance.  I like Bernie's response best:

Bernie Sanders @SenSanders Where'd you get your PhD? Trump University? …

The Committee quoted news reports from, an unassailable source on climate change data (Not).   Their basic argument is that recent heat records are due to El Nino, not climate change.  It apparently doesn't occur to them that it could be both.  My own explanation can be found here.  There is a clear underlying warming trend, and El Nino/La Nina fall on …

Rising Seas Turn Coastal Houses Into a Gamble

I've been warning about rising sea levels for several years, and just now they're beginning to think about in Florida.
Perils of Climate Change Could Swamp Coastal Real Estate MIAMI — Real estate agents looking to sell coastal properties usually focus on one thing: how close the home is to the water’s edge. But buyers are increasingly asking instead how far back it is from the waterline. How many feet above sea level? Is it fortified against storm surges? Does it have emergency power and sump pumps? Rising sea levels are changing the way people think about waterfront real estate. Though demand remains strong and developers continue to build near the water in many coastal cities, homeowners across the nation are slowly growing wary of buying property in areas most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. But many economists say that this reckoning needs to happen much faster and that home buyers urgently need to be better informed. Some analysts say the economic impact of a…

We May Be At A Tipping Point

‘Jump’ In Global Warming Now Appears ‘Imminent’ 90% of the heat in the atmosphere is absorbed in the oceans.  There are two important processes passing that heat back and forth into the atmosphere, the "ENSO", i.e., La Nina and El Nino, and the "Pacific Decadal Oscillation "PDO".  Each of these raise and lower temperatures over the oceans and can have impact on weather over the entire planet.  Historically, they both rise and fall every few years, the PDO in decades, lifting and dropping atmospheric temperatures.  But now with
global warming it's more a stair case, each implementation of ENSO, El Nino raises the temperatures more than the last time, and La Nina lowers it less.  The same with the PDO.  We are now in a decadal PDO increase in ocean temperatures meaning the next ten years are going to get very warm.  Our current La Nina will keep it abated somewhat, but another El Nino will follow in a few years and all of our record heat temperatures will be…

More on GMO's.

I've discussed this before.  The opponents of GMO's have legitimate problems with it.  But in thirty years there are going to be 8 billion people to feed.  The last time we were threatened by such a catastrophe, in the 1970's, there was a "green revolution" and science brought us back from the brink.

Now the looming brink dwarfs the one in the 1970's.  But science again is there, provided that they are going to be allowed to work with GMO's.  To ban this work will be tragic.

But now there is incredible hope with GMO research.
A decade ago, agricultural scientists at the University of Illinois suggested a bold approach to improve the food supply: tinker with photosynthesis, the chemical reaction powering nearly all life on Earth.  The idea was greeted skeptically in scientific circles and ignored by funding agencies. But one outfit with deep pockets, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, eventually paid attention, hoping the research might help alleviate…

Another Step In Florida's Doom

Florida is on it's way to oblivion.
Intensified by Climate Change, ‘King Tides’ Change Ways of Life in Florida In an enclave of a city known as the Venice of America, where dream-big houses look out over a maze of picturesque canals, the comparison to the Venice of Italy no longer seems so appealing. On Monday morning, shortly after November’s so-called supermoon dropped from view on Mola Avenue, it was easy to see why. The tide swelled on command. Seawater gurgled audibly up through manhole covers and seeped from the grass. Under a sunny sky, the water drowned docks and slid over low sea walls. By 8:15 a.m., peak tide, this street in the Las Olas Isles neighborhood was inundated, just like the Venice across the pond. Sergio Lafratta, an independent business consultant who moved in just three months ago, stood shirtless in tall waders, watching the saltwater seep into his new lawn.
“There goes my grass again,” Mr. Lafratta said. His grass squares floated away down the street. His w…

Having elected Trump, Conservatives now own climate change

Conservatives elected Trump; now they own climate change

Anyone who voted for Trump shares the responsibility for the climate damages resulting from his presidency The one thing that isn’t transient is the impact this will have on climate change. It is now virtually certain the world will not meet any of its climate targets. If Trump (and the Republican-controlled Congress) stand by their pledges, we will see a major rollback of the tremendous progress that has been made on reducing emissions. A Trump presidency will likely set us back at least a decade, perhaps longer. And that is a decade we can’t afford. The world will blow past the 2C (3.6F) target set in Paris. This means it will be difficult to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. The election also affects how we should talk about climate change. In the US, and in many other countries, opposing steps to cut carbon pollution has become a litmus test for conservative politicians. So, in this sense, conservatives now own …

Spain Could Turn Into A Desert

The Paris Agreement recently adopted on global warming resolves to keep the increase in global atmospheric temperature to within 1.5 degrees Celsius.  The Mediterranean is warming faster than other parts of the world and is already at 1.3 degrees.  Unless action is taken immediately, which is unlikely, it will hit 2 degrees there (and also throughout the world) in twenty years or so.  And if even the most drastic action isn't taken, the worst case scenario is dire for most the world by the end of the century.

Climate change rate to turn southern Spain to desert by 2100, report warns Mediterranean ecosystems will change to a state unprecedented in the past 10,000 years unless temperature rises are held to within 1.5C, say scientists Southern Spain will be reduced to desert by the end of the century if the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions continue unchecked, researchers have warned. Anything less than extremely ambitious and politically unlikely carbon emissions cuts will se…

Cold Winters Coming In The Northeast

As the Arctic warms atmospheric patterns normally confined to the Arctic begins to spread out and affect latitudes further south.  During the winter months it is called the Polar Vortex, and it is heading for the American Northeast.  While the air in this vortex is getting warmer, it remains a lot colder than what people are used to further south, a lot colder.

It’s coming back. The polar vortex that shocked the northeast with extremely cold days may bring more bitterly cold winters to North America, according to a new study. The polar vortex is a massive system of swirling air that usually contains cold air around the North Pole. It has been shifting for decades, researchers found — but it has only recently become a household term, after it was blamed for causing record cold weather affecting some 200 million people in 2014. [....]
A weakened vortex means cold Arctic air moves to lower latitudes, as happened in early 2014 and 2015. Some experts are reporting the polar vortex is alread…

20 to 30 Feet Sea Level Rise Is Inevitable

Scientists have learned that the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet is accelerating.

Extreme Melting: Antarctic Glacier Lost 1000 to 1500 Feet in Thickness of Solid Ice in 7 Years

The bottom line from this study and many others is that rapid melting of the Antarctic ice sheet has started. We know from many studies of global coastlines that the last time temperatures were as warm as were 1.5 Celsius above baseline — the Paris agreement target — sea levels were 20 to 30 feet above today’s level. We now know from this study that glaciers are already melting at astonishing rates but predicting how rapidly the west Antarctic ice sheet will collapse is a major scientific challenge. Thus predicting the changing rates of sea level rise and the effects on coastlines will be controversial and political, but 20 to 30 feet (minimum) of sea level rise is pretty much inevitable. It's only a matter of time. Although 20 to 30 feet of sea level rise will be very destructive to coastlines, ef…

Obituary: The Great Barrier Reef, 25 million BC - 2016

Climate change and ocean acidification have killed off one of the most spectacular features on the planet. The Great Barrier Reef of Australia passed away in 2016 after a long illness. It was 25 million years old. For most of its life, the reef was the world’s largest living structure, and the only one visible from space. It was 1,400 miles long, with 2,900 individual reefs and 1,050 islands. In total area, it was larger than the United Kingdom, and it contained more biodiversity than all of Europe combined. It harbored 1,625 species of fish, 3,000 species of mollusk, 450 species of coral, 220 species of birds, and 30 species of whales and dolphins. Among its many other achievements, the reef was home to one of the world’s largest populations of dugong and the largest breeding ground of green turtles.  [....]
 Corals derive their astonishing colors, and much of their nourishment, from symbiotic algae that live on their surfaces. The algae photosynthesize and make sugars, which the cor…

Good News, Bad News

India has ratified the Paris Agreement on climate change.  This is big deal.  The U.S. and China are in, and most of the European Countries. Only Russia demurs. Nevertheless it appears that the treaty will "enter into force".
The Paris Agreement will formally come into force next month, legally binding countries that have ratified the deal to act on the pledges made last year. This includes a commitment by every country to prepare increasingly ambitious pledges to tackle greenhouse gas emissions every five years, known as Nationally Determined Contributions. This is an important step forward.

The good news doesn't stop there.  The price of clean energy continues to drop

And Standing Rock may presage the beginning of a popular uprising against oil.

The corner may have been turned.  The Paris Agreement signifies that the the deniers have lost the battle
195 world nations have agreed to ignore climate science denial and cut carbon pollution as much as possible So maybe th…

Paris Accords on Climate Will Come Into Legal Force

This is an important announcement:

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, is expected to announce on Wednesday that he has secured enough commitments from world leaders to ensure that the 2015 Paris climate accord will enter into legal force this year, binding the next American president, whoever it is.
If our children and grandchildren are going to have a future this pact must be agreed to.  It is however just a tiny first step, but if it doesn't happen it's a giant, possibly catastrophic backward step.

If Donald Trump were to be elected, it could become interesting.  He doesn't seem to me to be the kind of person to honor a treaty he doesn't agree with no matter the dishonor he would be bringing on himself and our country.  

Of course with Hillary Clinton, we will have made some progress towards a future for our planet since she is an honorable person.

Ghost Forests

Ghost forests are eerie evidence of rising seas Bare trunks of dead coastal forests are being discovered up and down the mid-Atlantic coastline, killed by the advance of rising seas. The “ghost forests,” as scientists call them, offer eerie evidence of some of the world’s fastest rates of sea-level rise.

Climate scientists like Walker, a PhD candidate at Rutgers University researching sea-level rise, have begun investigating these dead forests, which are becoming common features along some coastal landscapes. The poison that kills the trees is salt, delivered to their roots by rising tides.

A Timeline of Earth's Average Temperature Over 200,000 years


Obama on Climate Change: The Trends Are ‘Terrifying’

Obama is stating his case that his efforts against climate change will matter the most.

“What makes climate change difficult is that it is not an instantaneous catastrophic event,” he said. “It’s a slow-moving issue that, on a day-to-day basis, people don’t experience and don’t see.” Climate change, Mr. Obama often says, is the greatest long-term threat facing the world, as well as a danger already manifesting itself as droughts, storms, heat waves and flooding. More than health care, more than righting a sinking economic ship, more than the historic first of an African-American president, he believes that his efforts to slow the warming of the planet will be the most consequential legacy of his presidency. ....
Benjamin J. Rhodes, one of the president’s closest aides, recalled Mr. Obama talking about “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed,” Jared Diamond’s 2005 best seller, which explored the environmental changes that wiped out ancient societies like Easter Island and di…

Sea Level Rising

Flooding of Coast, Caused by Global Warming, Has Already Begun Scientists’ warnings that the rise of the sea would eventually
imperil the United States’ coastline are no longer theoretical.

The inundation of the coast has begun. The sea has crept up to the point that a high tide and a brisk wind are all it takes to send water pouring into streets and homes. Federal scientists have documented a sharp jump in this nuisance flooding — often called “sunny-day flooding” — along both the East Coast and the Gulf Coast in recent years. The sea is now so near the brim in many places that they believe the problem is likely to worsen quickly. Shifts in the Pacific Ocean mean that the West Coast, partly spared over the past two decades, may be hit hard, too. These tidal floods are often just a foot or two deep, but they can stop traffic, swamp basements, damage cars, kill lawns and forests, and poison wells with salt. Moreover, the high seas interfere with the drainage of storm water.

This article

California Senate Calls For Carbon Tax

I've posted many times on the carbon tax, or "carbon price" as the only path to a future on this planet with humans in it.  The IMF has called for it, the World Bank, and world leaders.  And now the California Senate is joining in.  They are asking it to be revenue neutral, that is, the money from the tax is to be returned to lower and middle income people to reduce its impact on them.
WHEREAS, A national carbon tax would make the United States a leader in mitigating climate change and the advancing clean energy technologies of the 21st Century, and would incentivize other countries to enact similar carbon taxes, thereby reducing global carbon dioxide emissions without the need for complex international agreements; now, therefore, be it Resolved by the Assembly and the Senate of the State of California, jointly, That the Legislature hereby urges the United States Congress to enact, without delay, a tax on carbon-based fossil fuels; and be it further Resolved ... That all …

The Invasion Of Brain Eating Amoeba, Parasites, and Red Tide

I've posted before about global warming bringing us an invasion of virus-carrying mosquitoes in Florida.

I've haven't been too worried about the Pacific Northwest, but recent events are showing that we might have as much or more to be worried about.  Last year I warned about brain-eating amoeba without being specific but it has happened in lakes near the Grand Tetons National Park in Wyoming.
A brain-eating amoeba that has killed an 11-year-old girl on Friday was detected in the Grand Teton National Park. According to reports, the parasitic amoeba is called the Naegleria fowleri.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states the Naegleria fowleri can cause rare and devastating infection of the brain called primary amebic meningoencephalitis (PAM) when it enters the body through the nose. Ninety-seven percent of people who contract the disease don't survive. Since 1962, 133 people in the U.S. have been infected with the disease and only three have survived.
 But tha…

Greenland Ice Melt Accelerating.

I have postedbefore about the threat of serious sea level rise due to Greenland's ice melting.  New research is confirming the seriousness.
A new study measures the loss of ice from one of world’s largest ice sheets. They find an ice loss that has accelerated in the past few years, and their measurements confirm prior estimates. [bold face is my addition].  In total, they estimate approximately 270 gigatons of ice loss per year for 2011–2014. This result is almost a perfect match to independent measurements made by other researchers and builds our confidence in their conclusions. To put this in perspective, the Greenland Ice Sheet is losing approximately 110,000 Olympic size swimming pools worth of water each year. More data to support the contention that cities built on sea shores world wide are in serious danger.

Global Temperature Change, 1850-2016

Mapping global temperature change

The visualisation technique of ‘small multiples’ is often used to communicate a simple message. The above example shows maps of temperature change from 1850-2016 – the overall warming trend is obvious even though the details are fuzzy.Technical details: The HadCRUT4.4 dataset is used with anomalies from a 1961-1990 baseline period. An annual average for a particular grid cell and year is only shown if 6 or more months have data, otherwise it is coloured grey. 2016 is for the year to date. The colour scale runs from around -2.5C to +2.5C.

Sea Level's Increase Is Accelerating

John Fasullo and colleagues predict that satellites will detect accelerating sea level rise within the next decade.  I've written (a lot) about the rise in sea levels.  And now there's some indication that these levels are increasing nonlinearly.

As humans emit greenhouse gases, it’s causing the Earth to warm. That’s indisputable and proven. We can actually measure the amount of extra heat. Since most of it ends up in the oceans, we can also measure other changes in the oceans. For instance, the oceans are rising. We know that’s indisputable. Measurements taken from physical gauges and from satellites confirm sea level rise. The cause of the rise is more complex.  A very recent paper published in Nature has evaluated the history of sea level rise, and what they find is really interesting. The lead author (John Fasullo from the National Center for Atmospheric Research) and his colleagues tried to determine if the rate of sea level rise is changing. That is, are the water levels …

"Skeptical" Argument Against Global Warming Loses

They keep trying.
A few months ago, the world’s largest private sector coal company went to court, made its best scientific case against the 97% expert consensus, and lost. One of coal’s expert witnesses was University of Alabama at Huntsville climate scientist Roy Spencer Last week, Spencer wrote a white paper for the Texas Public Policy Institute (TPPI) outlining the contrarian case against climate concerns. TPPI is part of the web of denial, having received substantial funding from both the tobacco and fossil fuel industries, including $65,000 from ExxonMobil and at least $911,499 from Koch-related foundations since 1998, and over $3 million from “dark money” anonymizers Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund. Spencer’s arguments should of course be evaluated on their own merits, regardless of who commissioned them. However, it turns out that they have little merit on which to stand. The white paper is a classic example of a Gish Gallop – producing such a large volume of nonsense arg…